Economy

Top Ford executive ousted for 'inappropriate behaviour'

Top Ford executive ousted for 'inappropriate behaviour'

Nair was responsible for handling the operations of the company that generated 90 percent of Ford's global profits, according to Reuters.

The company says in a statement that North America President Raj Nair is leaving the company immediately.

"We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration", Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett 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.

Galhotra, who has worked for Ford for 29 years and previously led its luxury Lincoln Motor Company arm, will report to Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of Global Markets.

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Ford didn't provide details into what part of its code of conduct Nair breached, however it was serious enough to prompt the dismissal of someone who was in a top leadership role at Ford and a public face for the company. Although high-profile firings clearly linked to the #MeToo movement have yet to materialise within the auto industry, Ford's chief executive officer did apologise late past year for harassment on the vehicle maker's factory floors.

It certainly wasn't planned - Ford just offered Nair a US$5m retention bonus a year ago that would vest in May 2020.

Ford's deep executive bench has been a valuable resource as the company transforms itself to address opportunities in electric cars, autonomous vehicles, and shared mobility. He then became responsible for all Ford of Europe launches including the Focus, Transit and Mondeo.

Born in 1964, Nair holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with an automotive speciality from Kettering University in Flint, Mich and was named the recipient of the 2012 Kettering Alumni Award for Management Achievement.

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In 2017, women at Ford's Chicago plant told The New York Times they faced sexual harassment and alleged that no action was taken on their complaints.

"We don't want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in any behavior like this", Hackett said in a letter to employees. The company's margins have fallen behind rivals General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. "It's been a revolving door at the top of Ford for the past year, and with declining USA 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".

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

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