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Mulally, Ford ex-CEO appointed to Google board

Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Mulally speaks during an interview with CNBC on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Google Inc has appointed former Ford CEO Alan Mulally to its board of directors, drafting a seasoned Detroit executive into its ranks as it develops a self-driving car and tries to get its software into more automobiles.

Mulally, once deemed a strong contender for the top job at Microsoft Corp, joins venture capitalist John Doerr, former Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini and VMWare co-founder Diane Greene on the board of the Internet advertising leader.

Mulally returned Ford to profitability, in part, by shedding brands like Volvo and Jaguar so the company could focus on its core Ford and Lincoln brands. Mulally also drove Ford to innovate, championing new features like touch-screen dashboards before others had them.

Google has developed car prototypes that drive themselves, but hasn’t revealed what it plans to do with the technology in the long term. In announcing Mulally’s appointment, it didn’t mention its cars.

Mulally, who also worked for Boeing, is the only director with a background in traditional manufacturing on Google’s board.

His auto industry expertise may come in handy as Google engages Detroit, hoping that its Android software will become the standard platform for everything from messaging to media in cars. The Silicon Valley company has also pursued its vision of self-driving cars, though largely on its own.