2018-02-21 19:07:03
Ford Ousts Chief of North American Unit for ‘Inappropriate Behavior’

Ford Motor said on Wednesday that one of its most senior officials was leaving the company after an internal investigation revealed “inappropriate behavior.”

The official, Raj Nair, had been an executive vice president and head of Ford’s North American operations since June. He spent three decades with the automaker.

Ford declined to elaborate on the nature of the actions, but said they were inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.

“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said in a statement released by the company. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture, and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”

In recent months, there has been a wave of dismissals and resignations of powerful corporate officials after revelations about workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment. The action at Ford is one of the most prominent ousters outside the media and entertainment industries.

Mr. Nair, 53, had been seen as a rising star at the automaker, and a potential future chief executive. He previously served as its chief technology officer and head of vehicle development.

After Mr. Hackett arrived last year, Mr. Nair was put in charge of North America, Ford’s largest and most profitable region.

“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,” Mr. Nair said in the statement issued by Ford. “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”

The company said it would name a successor soon.

The move came just weeks after Ford announced the resignation of the chief of its China operations, Jason Luo, who had been hired away from an auto-parts maker only five months earlier. A company official said Mr. Luo’s departure related to “personal reasons that predate his time at Ford.”

Last year Ford came under scrutiny for years of allegations of sexual and racial harassment of women workers by company employees at two auto plants in Chicago. In August, Ford reached a $10 million settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a case related to the plants.

Shortly after The New York Times published an investigation of the longstanding abuses at the plants in December, Ford apologized to the workers there in an open letter from Mr. Hackett that declared, “I promise that we will learn from this and we will do better.”