The statement confirms that Nair was investigated for "inappropriate behavior," but beyond that we don't have any information as to what caused Nair's termination. Nair's departure comes after several high-profile business leaders have quit or been fired following accusations of sexual misconduct.
"We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," said Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett in a 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 apologized, without elaborating.
"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," Nair said in Ford's statement.
A spokesman for No. 2 U.S. automaker said the company would not comment on the nature of Nair's behavior beyond what was in its official statement, which appears below.
No replacement has been announced. Nair had been in his position since June of 2017, and before that he was head of global product development and chief technical officer. He joined Ford in 1987 and rose through the automaker's manufacturing and engineering ranks.
Nair stands to lose about $4.8 million worth of Ford restricted shares he was granted in May 2017 that would have vested had a remained with the company until May 2020.
In August, Ford agreed to pay up to $10.125 million to settle an investigation into sex and race harassment at two plants in Chicago conducted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC said female and African-American employees had been subjected to sexual and racial harassment and found the automaker retaliated against employees who complained about the harassment or discrimination.
In an open letter after the New York Times published a widely read article on the matter, Hackett wrote "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," he wrote.
Ford has been working to effect a turnaround in its operations to improve profitability as Ford's automotive profit margins have shrunk.
In emailed commentary, Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader, the online market for cars, said this comes "at a particularly bad time for Ford."
"Investors and analysts have been unhappy with the seeming lack of a clear direction for Ford," she said. "The pressure is on Jim Hackett... to lay out a clear road ahead for Ford."
The company's margins have fallen behind rivals General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Year to date, Ford shares are down 14 percent.
In extended trading on Wednesday, Ford shares were unchanged from their official close of $10.60.
Information from Reuters was included in this report.
RAJ NAIR, FORD'S PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, EXITS COMPANY
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 21, 2018 – Ford Motor Company today announced that Raj Nair, executive vice president and president, North America, is departing from Ford effective immediately.The decision follows a recent internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior. The review determined certain behavior by Nair was inconsistent with the company's code of conduct.
"We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett. "Ford is deeply committed to providing and nurturing a safe and respectful culture and we expect our leaders to fully uphold these values."
Said Nair: "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 has been president of Ford North America since June 1, 2017. Prior to that, he served as Ford's head of global product development and chief technical officer. Nair's replacement will be subject to an announcement in the near future.