- Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president and president, North America, has resigned from the company following a company investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour.”
- Nair became president of Ford North America in June 2017 after serving as Ford’s head of global product development and CTO.
- In August, Ford announced a $US10.1 million settlement that followed allegations of racial and sexual harassment at two facilities in the Chicago area.
Raj Nair, Ford’s executive vice president and president, North America, has resigned from the company following a company investigation into allegations of “inappropriate behaviour,” according to a statement from the company.
The allegations were not of a financial nature, but involved personal conduct, Ford explained to Business Insider. The carmaker became aware of them relatively recently.
“I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviours consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused,” Nair said. “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”
Nair, 53, became president of Ford North America in June 2017 after serving as Ford’s head of global product development and CTO.
“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” Jim Hackett, Ford’s president and CEO said in the statement. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”
A rising star at Ford
Nair was a rising star at the automaker, overseeing the development of the Ford GT supercar and Ford’s return in 2016 to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the racing version of the GT won 50 years after its famous 1966 victory.
He was promoted to run the North American business – Ford’s most important and the driver of its profits – shortly after Hackett took over the CEO’s job in May, following the ouster of Mark Fields and the elevation of Joe Hinrichs to oversee Ford’s global operations.
Ford will need to replace Nair quickly, as lucrative vehicle sales in the US and Canada are critical to funding Hackett’s ambitious plans to increase the automaker’s transition to being a mobility services provider and a major playing in electric and self-driving cars. The bulk of Ford’s bottom line comes from high-margin pickup trucks and SUV in the booming US market, which has been at record or near-record levels for three consecutive years.
“Another senior leadership change is the last thing Ford needs to deal with right now,” Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at the consumer auto site Edmunds.com, said in a statement.
“It’s been a revolving door at the top of Ford for the last year, and with declining US sales and pressure to show progress on its mobility strategy, the company really needs consistent, focused leadership in order to deliver the results Wall Street is demanding.”
Nair was a Ford veteran. He joined the automaker in 1987 and moved through a series of jobs while increasing his level of responsibility. The executive was considered by some observers of the company to be a possible future CEO candidate.
Ford has recently come under fire for its work conditions at some factories.
In August, Ford announced a $US10.1 million settlement that followed allegations of racial and sexual harassment at two facilities in the Chicago area. ANew York Times investigation from December included accounts from women who said they were harassed by co-workers.
In an open letter, Hackett personally addressed the reporting by the Times and pledged that Ford would improve the situation.