President of Ford North America Raj Nair, an important veteran with the company and one of the first promoted by Jim Hackett the Ford CEO, was ousted Wednesday in an abrupt fashion amidst the admission of inappropriate behavior.
In a prepared statement by Nair that was released by Ford, he said that he sincerely regretted the instances where he did not exhibit leadership consistent with the principles at Ford that he has espoused. He added that he continued to have great faith in the people at Ford Motor and wish them all continued success moving forward.
Ford announced that Nair, who is 53, would depart from his position of president of North America and executive vice president of the company effective immediately.
It is one more blow to Ford which has been hit by a recent run of difficult issues. Ford has watched its stock price remain flat the last 12 months, while its competitors have seen strong growth.
Already in 2018, Ford has lost its new CEO in China, expects earnings to be weaker in 2018, and the credit rating outlook by Moody’s Investors Services was downgraded to negative from stable.
The departure of Nair stems from an anonymous tip that was received during the last few weeks that sparked an investigation. The company would not elaborate regarding the behavior.
Hackett in a prepared statement said the company made its decision after completing a full review and careful consideration. Ford, added Hackett, is committed to providing as well as nurturing a respectful and safe culture and expects its leaders to uphold those values.
Nair became the Ford North America president in June of 2017. Prior to that position he served as the head of global product development at Ford and the CTO. He held several director roles with Ford dating back to 2000.
Ford announced that the replacement for Nair would be named soon.
Nair, who is a mechanical engineer, has been Ford’s point man when it relates to global product development and was widely considered as one of the few possible successors at CEO.
He was amongst four top executives at Ford to receive a one-time bonus for retention as Hackett was being promoted during May of 2017 that will be paid to him in 2020. Nair was given long-term stock incentives that are worth as much as $5 million.
Jason Luo, the Ford China CEO at the time, abruptly departed Ford with the company calling his departure due to personal reasons predating his time with Ford.