Top Indian American Executive at Ford Quits Over ‘Inappropriate Behavior’

Raj Nair, Ford's executive vice president and president, North America, is departing with immediate effect, the company said. 


Ford Motor Company announced on Feb. 21 that Raj Nair, the executive vice president and president, North America, is departing from the company effective immediately. The announcement follows an internal investigation that was conducted recently after reports of his inappropriate behavior surfaced.

The review determined that certain behavior by Nair, 53, was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct, Ford said in a statement.

“We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said. “Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values,” he added.

“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, who is of Indian origin, said.

The company did not mention the details of the internal investigation or the reports against Nair, who was often called a rising star in Ford and a potential future chief executive. Ford will divide Nair’s responsibilities among Kumar Galhotra, the firm’s chief marketing officer and head of the Lincoln brand, and Stuart Rowley, the vice president of strategy.

Nair had been working with Ford since 1987 after he graduated from college. He was Ford’s CTO and head of global product development before assuming the executive vice president role in June 2017.

He had been instrumental in changing the focus of Ford towards self-driving cars, phone-savvy infotainment and mobility services, according to Engadget.

The high-level dismissal is one of the most prominent in an industry other than media and entertainment after sexual harassment at workplaces started to be taken seriously. Companies have started enforcing zero tolerance harassment policies, although it is not known if Nair was dismissed over charges of sexual harassment.

Nair is not the first Indian American to lose his job over accusations of inappropriate behavior. In October 2017, the University of Southern California’s medical school dean, Dr. Rohit Varma, resigned from the post over a sexual harassment case that took place 15 years ago.

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