As businesses continue to rely ever more on information technology to function, the former head of Ford Motor Company Mark Fields joined the board of Tanium, a $9 billion security platform company, on Wednesday.
"Cybersecurity is a critically important need right now," Fields said of his decision to join the company. He explained that there were three factors adding to the urgency of protecting information technology and infrastructure: more devices as part of company networks that will grow with the onset of 5G, the growth of the cloud, and the expansion of work-from-home.
"So for all those reasons, cybersecurity is probably the number one or number two issue on CEOs' minds," he noted, while touting Tanium's products and services in the space.
Reinforcing the point that protecting IT infrastructure is considered integral to current business practices, Fields also stated that across the Fortune 500 companies, security experts have been added to the C-Suite, despite a troubled economy that had shed a record number of jobs in the months since the coronavirus pandemic began.
"As revenues come down because of the economy slowing, I don't think you're seeing any CEO or CIO letting up on making sure that they're investing appropriately to protect their company's data, their employees' data, and their customers' data because it's about trust," he said.
Fields also commented on his previous company, Ford, which announced downsizing efforts this week, as a matter of looking beyond COVID-19 ahead to the future of the automaker.
"This, to me, is just endemic of every CEO, whether it's an automaker or just in general," he said. "It's probably gone from, 'Let's ride out the COVID issue,' to, 'How do we reinvent?' and I think that's what you're seeing at Ford and other companies."
The reinvention, he explained, looks to be in the electric vehicle space, currently led by Tesla, but Fields foresees quickly-growing competition and more investment in the space, as governments around the world add to the pressure of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to combat climate change.
"I think that brands like Ford, which are in the process of introducing a number of new products, the first one coming late this year is the Mach-E, I think this is the first time Tesla's actually going to have some real competition," he said.