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Monday, July 07, 2008, 06:00 am PT (09:00 am ET)

Segway CTO departs for leadership role on Apple's design team

Doug Field, the chief technology officer who's led Segway's engineering team since day one, is leaving his post at the electric vehicle maker to become a vice president of product design at Apple.

"Doug has been the driving force in making the Segway what it is today and will be sorely missed at the company," reads an official post made to the SegwayChat forums on Friday.

Field's has made a long career of managing and developing new products and manufacturing processes for the automotive and medical industries.

Before joining Segway, he worked for several years beginning in the late 90's at DEKA Research & Development, leading the prototype design and overall technical leadership for the INDEPENDENCE IBOT Mobility System.

Prior to that, he was the Manager of Process Development for Johnson & Johnson Medical, Inc. where he led the introduction of advanced manufacturing processes for high-volume medical device production.

Earlier in his career, Field assumed the role of vehicle development engineer and team leader at Ford Motor Company, focusing on the development of ride, handling, and noise and vibration characteristics on several car platforms.

The motives behind Apple's move to acquire Field are unclear and somewhat interesting given the reaction by chief executive Steve Jobs to the industrial design of the original Segway in 2003.

"I think it sucks," he said. "Its shape is not innovative, it's not elegant and it doesn't feel anthropomorphic."