Gougarty previously worked for TRW Automotive Corp. as the autoparts company's vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region from January 2008 until last year.
Before joining TRW, she held leadership positions at other automotive companies including as managing director of a General Motors joint venture in Shanghai, China.
Gougarty had been a Westport director since February but has resigned the board seat to take the management position
"Nancy brings valuable direction and experience in product delivery execution from her roles in the global automotive sector," said David Demers, Westport's chief executive officer.
"Nancy will play a key role in implementing our strategic priorities, supporting Westport in meeting the challenges of operating a global business and driving Westport's financial success with her experience in operations and international product sales."
Westport develops engines that use fuels such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen and renewable natural gas fuels such as landfill gas.