Ford Motor Co. has ousted one of its top executives over allegations of inappropriate behavior. North America President Raj Nair is leaving the company effective immediately, Ford said in a statement. His replacement has not yet been named. Ford officials would not specify what behavior led to Nair's departure. Ford investigated after a recent anonymous complaint about Nair was made to the company's 24-hour hotline, the AP reports. "We made this decision after a thorough review and careful consideration," said Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett 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 expressed regret in a statement distributed by Ford. "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. Nair, who was Ford's head of global product development before becoming North America chief last year, had been seen as a possible future Ford CEO, the Detroit Free Press reports. Joseph Holt, ethics professor at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, praised Ford, saying companies have to take action when their codes of conduct are violated. "When inappropriate behavior is tolerated or exceptions are made for star employees, then leadership is not clear, credible, or consistent in its upholding of professed values, and that invites well-founded employee cynicism," he said.