NEW YORK — Ford Motor Co. Feb. 22 announced that it has replaced disgraced president of North America Raj Nair, who quit amid inappropriate behavior, with another Indian American executive, Kumar Galhotra.
Nair, who was the president for North America and executive vice president, quit after an internal investigation "determined certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company's code of conduct," Ford said in a statement (see India-West article here: http://bit.ly/2CD5V5o).
"We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," said Ford president and chief executive officer Jim Hackett.
Nair apologized for his conduct in a statement distributed by the company saying: "I sincerely regret that there have been instances where I have not exhibited leadership behaviors consistent with the principles" of the company.
Ford did not provide details of what he had done that led to his ouster.
The Detroit Free Press quoted company officials as saying "the shakeup shocked the investor community and stunned employees.”
Galhotra, 52, who will take over as group vice president and president for North America on March 1, will be responsible for leading all aspects of Ford's North American business, the company said.
"Kumar is an incredibly talented executive with a special feel for product and brand," Jim Farley, president for global markets, said. "Kumar is the right person to lead our North American business to new levels of operational fitness, product and brand excellence, and profitability."
According to Ford, Galhotra, who has been with the company for 29 years, became the company's chief marketing officer last year. He also headed Ford's Lincoln line of cars, "revitalizing the luxury brand's model lineup," Ford said.
Galhotra, who grew up in India, was previously vice president of engineering and between 2005 and 2008, also worked at Mazda's headquarters in Japan. He has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan.
Nair, 54, took over the North American operations only in June last year, according to the company.
Prior to that, Nair was executive vice president for product development and chief technical officer, with global responsibility for all aspects of the company's design, engineering, research and product development.