Ford promotes Lincoln chief to lead North American business

In this Jan. 15, 2018, file photo, Kumar Galhotra, group vice president for Lincoln stands next to the 2018 Lincoln Navigator after the vehicle won truck of the year during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Ford (NYSE:F) said Thursday the head of its Lincoln division, Kumar Galhotra, will lead the automaker’s North American operations, replacing Raj Nair, who stepped down amid allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Nair’s abrupt departure Wednesday left a hole in Ford’s leadership ranks at a time when new CEO Jim Hackett is spearheading a turnaround effort. As president of Ford North America, Galhotra will oversee the critical U.S. market, where sales of pickup trucks and SUVs are key to boosting profits.

The Lincoln chief, a 29-year veteran at Ford, also served as Ford’s chief marketing officer beginning last year. Joy Falotico, CEO of Ford’s credit unit, will replace Galhotra in both of his former roles. Falotico and Galhotra will report to Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets.

Ford is “very fortunate to have an experienced and committed executive team in place driving every day to significantly strengthen our business while building toward our vision of becoming the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world,” Hackett said in a statement.

Selecting Nair’s replacement was part of a flurry of moves announced Thursday. Ford promoted David McClelland to CEO of Ford Motor Credit Company. Stuart Rowley was named chief operating officer at Ford North America, John Lawler will be vice president of strategy and Cathy O’Callaghan will serve as chief financial officer of global markets.

An internal investigation determined that Nair’s behavior was “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct,” according to Ford. The company did not disclose details of the allegations.

Ford shares rose 3 cents, or 0.28%, to $10.63.