Karl Slym, managing director of India's Tata Motors Ltd, has
died after falling from a high floor of a hotel in Bangkok,
the company said.
Slym, 51, had attended a board meeting of Tata's Thailand
unit in the Thai capital, a company spokeswoman said, giving
no further details. A post-mortem report is due on Monday,
A native of Britain, Slym was hired in 2012 to revive
flagging sales and market share in the domestic business of
India's biggest automaker, which is part of the Tata
"His death comes at a time when the company seems to be close
to turning the corner, with new designs and a new petrol
engine family, which hasn't been Tata's strong point," said
Anil Sharma, an analyst with IHS Automotive.
Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine for its
passenger vehicles and has been planning to launch a new
hatchback and compact sedan this year, its first new branded
passenger vehicles since 2010.
"It (his death) comes before his efforts bear fruit. We
should be able to see the results of his work in a year or
two," Sharma said.
Slym led the automaker's operations in India and
international markets including South Korea, Thailand and
South Africa, excluding the Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR)
luxury unit that it acquired in 2008.
Slym "was providing leadership to the company through a
challenging market environment", the company said in a
statement on Sunday.
Tata Motors had lost traction in its passenger vehicle market
as its domestic and foreign rivals rolled out new models
while it mostly tweaked existing models and offered heavy
The firm has not had a hit car at home since its Indica
launch in 1998. Sales of the Nano, the world's cheapest car
which it unveiled in 2008, have been lacklustre.
Before joining Tata Motors, Slym was executive vice president
of SGMW Motors, China, a General Motors joint venture. Before
that he had headed General Motors in India.