January 27, 2014

Tata MD Karl Slym's death a suicide: Thai police

Tata Motors Managing Director Karl Slym's death was a case of suicide, says the Thai police. The company has said his passing away is a major setback to the revival efforts of the auto major.
Bangkok: The Thai police suspect the Tata Motors Managing Director Karl Slym, 51, jumped to his death from a top floor of a hotel here where he was staying, on Sunday morning. He had died on the spot. Slym had attended a board meeting of Tata's Thai subsidiary here and was staying with his wife in a room on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel.

A British national, Karl Slym, who had joined India's largest auto maker in a management overhaul, was scheduled to return to India on Sunday. The body has been sent for post-mortem examination. The police said he might have jumped through a window of his room early in the morning. His body was found on the protruding roof of a lower floor.

According to company sources, his death is a major setback to the revival efforts of the auto major. In last December, Tata's domestic car sales had declined by 42 per cent. However, it had a 60 per cent market share in trucks and the British brands Jaguar and Land Rover were doing well, making up the losses.

Revotron initiative

Karl Slym had taken the initiative in introducing the recent Revotron petrol engine to power future petrol products. Currently only 15 per cent of sales come from petrol cars, the rest fuelled by diesel. Slym was also planning a makeover for the Nano, which has not been a great success as anticipated. Last week Tata had launched Nano Twist at Rs 2.36 lakh with features like power steering, central locking, power windows and bluetooth connectivity.

Earlier, Karl Slym was president of General Motors India during 2007-11. He was planning to settle down in India with his family and had even purchased a house.

The Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry said in a statement: "Karl joined us in October 2012 and was a valued colleague who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry. In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl's wife and family."

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