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'Inappropriate Behavior' Costs Ford Executive His Job and $5-Million Bonus


February 21, 2018, 4:29 PM by  Allan Lengel


Raj Nair: "I have not exhibited leadership behaviors." (Ford photo)

Ford Motor Co. is axing  Raj Nair, president of its North America division, for "inappropriate behavior," effective immediately.

An announcement Wednesday doesn't say what the 53-year-old did wrong.

The decision follows an anonymous complaint and internal investigation that found "certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct," a media release says. 

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

Nair, a 1987 mechanical engineering graduate of Kettering University in Flint, responds in his former employer's handout:

"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."

Misbehavior is costly for the abruptly dismissed executive, who loses a large bonus for "increased level of responsibility" that would have taken effect in two years, according to Michael Martinez of Automotive News.

He received 457,038 shares last May, worth around $5 million then. They would have become vested (accessible) in May 2020. "We are awarding a special stock award to [four] key leaders in critical areas as part of their long-term compensation," the company said last spring.

Nair has been president of Ford North America since last June. He earlier was head of global product development and chief technical officer.

No replacement is named yet.


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