Volvo Cars announced to day that Jim Rowan would be taking the helm as CEO & President, but it’s Jim’s background in EVs and autonomous driving tech that should make the rest of the industry sit up and take notice: Volvo is serious about self-driving cars.
“I am very pleased to welcome Jim Rowan as the new CEO of Volvo Cars,” said Eric Li, Chairperson of the Board at Volvo. “(Volvo) is going through a rapid transformation of digitalization which is why we wanted to bring in someone with global CEO experience from outside the automotive industry. Jim is the right person to accelerate Volvo Cars into the future – enabling it to become the fastest transformer in its field and a fully electric company with millions of direct consumer relationships.”
The board is pushing Rowan as an auto industry outsider for, I’m sure, reasons relating to the price of the company’ stock. But Volvo fans needn’t worry. Jim served as the CEO of Dyson after that company’s acquisition of solid-state battery firm Sakti3, and during the development of the stillborn Dyson electric car, so he understands the battery-electric car business intimately. What’s more exciting, though, is Rowan’s tenure at Blackberry.
Although best-known as the makers of early smartphones, Blackberry has been a leader in autonomous driving AI for several years. Indeed, it was Blackberry’s IP in that field that powered its share price’s rise as a “meme stock” in 2021.
“I am delighted to join Volvo Cars at such an exciting time for the company and at such a transformational time for both the industry and consumers,” said Rowan, in a statement. “The strong track record of (Volvo) across innovation, safety and quality, coupled with world-class talent, and inspiring sustainability and technology capabilities, places it in the driver’s seat for the road ahead.”