Karl Slym, managing director of India’s Tata Motors, has died after falling from 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 postmortem report is due on Monday.
British-born Slym was hired in 2012 to revive flagging sales and market share in the domestic business of India’s biggest carmaker, which is part of the Tata conglomerate.
Anil Sharma, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said: “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.”
Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine for its passenger vehicles, and plans to launch a new hatchback and compact saloon this year, its first new branded passenger vehicles since 2010.
“It [Slym’s 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 Tata’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.
Before joining Tata, Slym was executive vice-president of SGMW Motors China, a General Motors joint venture. Before that he had headed General Motors in India.