After Nair's Sudden Exit, Lincoln's Galhotra Climbs the Corporate Ladder

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Yesterday’s shocking ouster of Raj Nair as president of Ford North America, which came after an internal investigation into “inappropriate behavior,” left a leadership vacuum at the highest levels of the company’s food chain. On Thursday morning, the automaker announced a successor: Kumar Galhotra, soon-to-be former Lincoln Motor Company boss and Ford chief marketing officer.

Galhotra, 52, has overseen Lincoln since 2014, but his new role will see him pulling all the levers of Ford’s North American business.

With 29 years of Ford experience under his belt, Galhotra officially takes on the new job March 1st. Like Nair, he’ll report to Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president and president of global markets.

“Kumar is an incredibly talented executive with a special feel for product and brand. He is also a seasoned leader who knows how to drive a business transformation,” Farley said in a statement. “Kumar is the right person to lead our North American business to new levels of operational fitness, product and brand excellence, and profitability.”

Serving as Galhotra’s deputy is Stuart Rowley, 50, named vice president and chief operating officer of Ford North America effective March 1st. Rowley previously served as Ford’s VP of strategy. Taking over as Lincoln head and Ford chief strategy officer is Joy Falotico, 50, who served as Ford Motor Credit Company’s president and CEO since 2016. Though she’ll remain chairman of Ford’s financial wing, job one will be the overseeing of the Lincoln brand on a global scale.

Stepping into Falotico’s previous position is David McClelland, former VP of Asia Pacific marketing. John Lawler, former head of Ford China, takes over from Rowley as VP of strategy.

Missing from Ford’s Thursday announcement is any further information on what led to Nair’s departure.

In an earlier statement released by the automaker, Nair 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. I continue to have the utmost faith in the people of Ford Motor Company and wish them continued success in the future.”

The investigation into Nair’s behavior came after an anonymous complaint to the company. Yesterday, CEO Jim Hackett said the decision to let Nair go followed a “thorough review and careful consideration.” The ousted executive held the position of Ford North America president for less than nine months.

Before his short-lived tenure at the top, Nair guided the development of the new F-Series line and Expedition, among other models, as the company’s global product boss.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Feb 22, 2018

    White executive sold out and destroyed Chrysler and bankrupted GM. Kumar did much better job with Lincoln than hordes of white executive before him. And who revived Mustang BTW?

  • Redapple Redapple on Feb 23, 2018

    LOU % of THOSE WITH 20 years is key. I clearly said that in my statement. It takes that long to get to exec level. % females that are engineers with 20 years is MUCH lower than 20%. Got it? You see, I actually worked at the TECH CTR 20 years ago.

    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Feb 23, 2018

      An obvious sore spot for you since you posted this twice.

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