NEW YORK – The Ford Motor Company announced on February 21 that Raj Nair, the Indian American executive vice president and president of their North America operations, will be leaving, according to a press release.
The decision comes after a recent internal investigation found that he had acted inappropriately at times, according to the press release.
Though the company’s statement does not specify the behavior, the auto has come under scrutiny after allegations of widespread sexual misbehavior.
“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett who according to NBC News, released an open letter apologizing for “such behavior and promising to ‘do better’” after the New York Times reported on decades of harassment claims at two Ford plants in Chicago, in late December.
The announcement also comes as the movement known as #MeToo has held people around the world, accountable for their sexual misconduct, according to NBC News.
According to a Forbes report, the company has not released any further details of Nair’s behavior. However, it has said that the timing of his departure is unfortunate as CEO Mark Fields was let go last May.
“Another senior leadership change is the last thing Ford needs to deal with right now. It’s been a revolving door at the top of Ford for the last year, and with declining U.S. 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,” said Jessica Caldwell, the executive editor of industry analysis at Edmunds.com.
“Companies in all industries are scrutinizing complaints against employees and looking at their culture to make sure behaviors are appropriate. The auto industry is no exception. Investors and analysts have been unhappy with the seeming lack of a clear direction for Ford, especially in terms of future mobility services,” said Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst at Autotrader.
Nair is an engineer who joined Ford in 1987 as a chief technical officer, heading up global product development.
On June 1, 2017, he was named as Ford’s executive vice president and the head of the North American division.
“I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles that the Company and I have always espoused. I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future,” Nair said in a statement.
Ford announced on Thursday, February 22, that Kumar Galhotra, another Indian American, will be taking Nair’s place, according to the Detroit Free Press.
According to the Detroit Free Press, “Galhotra is viewed as accomplished, respected and well-liked at all levels of the operation” and knows “what it means to transform a company,” he has been the president of Lincoln since 2014.