Raj Nair, the head of Ford’s US operations, has resigned following an internal investigation into inappropriate behavior.
Ford said its inquiry had concluded that some of Raj Nair’s conduct had been “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct”.
The company did not specify why the investigation was started, nor what it uncovered.
Raj Nair said in a statement that he sincerely regrets certain behavior.
In a statement, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said: “We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration. Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values.”
Raj Nair had been President of Ford North America since July 1. He was previously head of global product development and chief technical officer.
He apologized, without elaborating on the reasons for his going.
He said: “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.”
Raj Nair added: “I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”
A company spokesman said Ford would not be commenting on the nature of Raj Nair’s departure.
In August, Ford agreed a multi-million-dollar settlement after an investigation into harassment at two factories in Chicago.
The inquiry was conducted by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which said female and African-American employees had been subjected to harassment and found the Ford retaliated against employees who complained about the harassment or discrimination.
Following the inquiry, Jim Hackett wrote in a letter to employees: “There is absolutely no room for harassment at Ford Motor Company…. We don’t want you here, and we will move you out for engaging in any behavior like this.”
Investors have been concerned that Ford is not moving quickly enough in markets such as China and in sectors such as automated cars to fend off competitors, including new ones emerging from Silicon Valley.
Jim Hackett said Ford needs to automate and simplify its production processes and invest $7 billion in its successful products, such as SUVs and light trucks, which have driven US sales this year.
Ford is also planning to make its vehicles more tech-savvy, with 90% of its vehicles sold around the world “built with connectivity” by 2020.
Executives said those features – such as easy compatibility with phones and other devices – would help attract customers to the brand.
They said they also opened opportunities for new lines of business, such as medical transport, ride-hailing and goods delivery.
Ford already operates a shuttle bus service called Chariot in four US cities and is set to expand it further by the end of the year. It said it has signed agreements to work with cities such as Mumbai on transport.
Jim Hackett said Ford had been slow to shift to electrification because of the costs. But it is working on partnerships with companies such as Zotye in China, where the government has called for quotas related to electric car sales.
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