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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

We believe Tata Motors MD Karl Slym jumped: Thai police lieutenant

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Bangkok/Mumbai, January 27, 2014
First Published: 10:17 IST(27/1/2014) | Last Updated: 20:13 IST(27/1/2014)

A three-page note left behind by Karl Slym may hold the key to his mysterious death in a Bangkok hotel fall on Sunday.

Thailand police have the note of the Tata Motors managing director who fell from the 22nd floor of Shangri-La Hotel to the fourth floor.

The police on Monday ruled out the possibility of murder. More clarity is expected after the post-mortem later in the day.

"We didn't find any sign of a struggle," police lieutenant Somyot Boonyakaew, who is heading the investigation, told Reuters.

"We found a window open. The window was very small so it was not possible that he would have slipped. He would have had to climb through the window to fall out because he was a big man. From my initial investigation we believe he jumped."

Slym was at the forefront of revamping the company's strategy to regain its position in the domestic market.

Read: Tata Motors stock slides 5% in afternoon trade after Slym’s death

Anil Sharma, an analyst with researchers IHS Automotive, said, “His death comes at a time when the company seems to be close to turning the corner.

"It comes before his efforts bear fruit. We should be able to see the results in a year or two."

Slym joined Tata Motors in October 2012 and was leading the company's operations in India and international markets including South Korea, Thailand and South Africa.

The British-born executive was in Thailand for a board meeting of the company's subsidiary in the country and was slated to return to India on Sunday. His wife, Sally Slym, was with him in Bangkok.

Local police officials said they were called to the hotel around 7.45am on Sunday after the hotel staff found Slym's body on the fourth floor.

Slym was in the thick of action at Tata Motors and was leading the changes in the company. He had initiated a slew of measures including a HorizonNext project — a four-pronged customer focused programme that would see a complete overhaul of the firm's current product portfolio.

Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine for its passenger vehicles and was planning to launch a hatchback and compact sedan this year, the first all-new Tata-branded passenger vehicles since 2010.

By the time Slym came on board, the car maker had ceded ground to Mahindra as the third largest passenger vehicle maker in the country and had no new products in two years and just four launches — Vista, Indigo Manza, Nano and Aria — in the past 10.

None of them was a great success and Nano, for all the hype, was a painful reality.

Before joining Tatar Motors, Slym was executive vice-president of SGMW Motors, China, a General Motors joint venture. Between 2007-11 he was heading General Motors operations in India.

Karl Slym had given an interview to HT in October, 2012 when he took over as the managing director of Tata Motors. To read the interview go to: People are still the key to any business, says Karl Slym


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