Raj Nair, Ford Motor Company’s executive vice president, and president, North America, has been sacked “effective immediately” following an internal investigation that has revealed the top executive’s non-compliance with the company’s code of conduct.
“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” said the company’s President and CEO Jim Hackett. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”
The company, however, did not disclose the exact nature of Nair’s misconduct, nor was it very forthcoming about who would take his place, except that his replacement would be announced in the “near future.”
Nair, 53, who had served the Dearborn, Michigan-based company in different capacities for more than three decades owned up to the allegations, saying that he was regretful for his failure to meet the company standards for “leadership behaviors.”
“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,” said Nair in a statement released by Ford.
Nair was elevated to the position of executive vice president and president Ford North America as recently as June 1, 2017, replacing Joe Hinrichs, who is now the Vice President Global Operations.
Before he was relieved of his responsibilities, Nair had been “leading all aspects of Ford’s North American business units,” says the Ford media website.
Prior to his last position in Ford, he had been looking after “all aspects of the company’s design, engineering, research and product development” as executive vice president, Product Development, and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) – a position he occupied since December 1, 2015.
He “played a key role in the company’s expansion into emerging mobility opportunities,” says the company’s media website.
Soon after he graduated from Kettering University with a bachelor’s degree in automotive mechanical engineering in 1987, Nair joined Ford Motor Company as a “Body and Assembly Operations launch engineer” and served in various capacities on some 11 vehicle programs in 13 assembly plants, according to the Ford media website.
A representative of Kettering University, where Nair is a member of the Board of Trustees, declined to give a statement on Nair’s removal.
In the 1996 European Fiesta, Nair served as the launch manager for Ford’s Vehicle Operations before he was given the responsibility for all of Ford’s Europe launches, including the Focus, Transit and Mondeo.
Prior to his becoming the executive vice president, Product Development, and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) in 2015, he had been serving as the company’s vice president of Product Development and CTO since April 2012.
And before that, he was overseeing the engineering operations for the Ford and Lincoln brands’ cars, trucks and SUVs. As the vice president of Engineering for Product Development, his responsibility was to ensure prompt delivery of Ford Motor Company’s commitment to its customers.
Nair also served as vice president of Asia Pacific Operations – a position he held for three years, looking after Product Development, Manufacturing, Purchasing, Quality and Information Technology in the region.
In his three-decade stint with Ford, Nair held a number of key positions in the company’s various departments, including product development, purchasing and manufacturing in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific as well as South America.
He has also been the executive director, Commodity Business Planning, heading a “cross-function team responsible for improving Ford’s material cost competitiveness.”
In 2000, Nair was given the responsibility for all of Ford’s North American launches as director New Model Programs, Advanced & Manufacturing Engineering, Vehicle Operations.
Nair has the distinction of being the recipient of the 2012 Kettering Alumni Award for Management Achievement as well as being named the Fortune Automotive Businessperson of the Year (2014).
“This comes at a particularly bad time for Ford, which only last spring ousted Mark Fields as CEO. Investors and analysts have been unhappy with the seeming lack of a clear direction for Ford, especially in terms of future mobility services,” AutoTrader analyst Michelle Krebs said in an emailed statement, according to detroitnews.com.
“The stock price has fallen. The pressure is on Jim Hackett, anointed CEO last spring, to lay out a clear road ahead for Ford,” Krebs added.