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Chief of Tata Motors found dead

Karl Slym found dead in Bangkok hotel in what police suspect was a suicide.

Last updated: 27 Jan 2014 06:52
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Slym had joined the company in 2012 when Tata Motors busniess had slowed down [Reuters]

The chief of India’s top automobile company Tata Motors, Karl Slym, has died in what is suspected to be a suicide.

Slym, 51, the managing director of Tata Motors Ltd, died on Sunday in the Thai capital Bangkok where he had gone to attend a board meeting, reports said.

On Monday, Tata Motors' share fell four percent when the markets opened for the day, on hearing of Slym’s death.

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The Tata Motors chief was staying with his wife on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel, reports said, adding that the hotel staff found his body on the fourth floor which juts out above the lower floors.

"We didn't find any sign of a struggle," the Reuters news agency said, quoting Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonyakaew, who is heading the investigation.

"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," the agency quoting the police said.

The Thai police are looking into a three-page note in English left behind by Slym.

Tata declines comment

A Tata Motors spokesperson, quoted by agencies, declined to comment on his death except to say he provided leadership in a challenging market environment.

Slym, a British national, was hired in 2012 when the Tata Motors business had slowed down, the reports said. 

Tata Motors is part of the massive Tata group of industries in India.

"His death comes at a time when the company seems to be close to turning the corner,"  said Reuters, quoting Anil Sharma, an analyst. "It comes before his efforts bear fruit. We should be able to see the results in a year or two,"  Sharma said.

Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine and was planning to launch a hatchback and compact sedan later this year, reports said.

The company had lost market share in the Indian market as other local and foreign car makers came up with newer models that were sold with attractive discounts. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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