Ford North America chief Raj Nair steps down for 'inappropriate behavior'

Gladys Abbott
February 23, 2018

The departure of Nair stems from an anonymous tip that was received during the last few weeks that sparked an investigation.

One day after Raj Nair, Ford's North America president, abruptly resigned from the company amid allegations of inappropriate behavior, the automaker has moved rapidly to stabilize the leadership of its most important market.

"He is also a seasoned leader who knows how to drive a business transformation", Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, said in a statement. Ford, added Hackett, is committed to providing as well as nurturing a respectful and safe culture and expects its leaders to uphold those values.

The official, Raj Nair, had been an executive vice-president and the head of Ford's North American operations since June.

In that corporate statement, Nair expressed regret, saying, "There have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the company and I have always espoused".

Ford's North American automotive operations earned US$7.5 billion of pretax profit in 2017.

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Phoebe Wall Howard of the Detroit Free Press reports that Nair exited Ford after unspecified but "inappropriate behavior".

Nair previously served as Ford's chief technical officer.

Ford shares closed in the red Wednesday, after the company announced its U.S. head of operations was leaving immediately following an investigation into inappropriate behaviour.

Prior to 2012 as vice president of engineering for product development, Nair oversaw all engineering for auto, truck and SUV vehicles for the Ford and Lincoln brands, and was responsible for delivering on Ford's commitment to offer more new products faster than ever before by leveraging greater sharing and reuse of platforms and components globally.

Nair joined Ford in 1987 as a body and assembly operations launch engineer and held various positions on more than 11 vehicle programs in 13 assembly plants. Prior to being named head of global product development, Nair oversaw engineering for all Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Nair stands to lose about $4.8 million worth of Ford restricted shares he was granted in May 2017 that would have vested had he remained with the company until May 2020. The company's margins have fallen behind rivals General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. In 29 years at Ford Credit, she has served in a number of executive positions around the world, including leading Marketing and Sales, working side-by-side with Ford to support sales and dealer success, and strengthening consumer and dealer service.

In extended trading on Wednesday, Ford shares were unchanged from their official close of Dollars 10.60.

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