Tata Motors MD Dies; Thai Police Suspects Suicide

Tata Motors MD Dies; Thai Police Suspects Suicide

Tata Motors Limited (ADR) (NYSE:TTM)’s MD Karl Slym fell from the 22nd floor of a hotel in Bangkok yesterday and police in Thailand suspect he may have committed suicide.

Karl Slym was in Bangkok to attend a board meeting of Tata Motors’ Thai subsidiary.

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Highly respected in auto industry

Karl Slym joined Tata Motors in October 2012 to revive flagging sales and market share in the domestic business of India’s biggest automaker, which is part of the Tata conglomerate. Tata Motors Limited (ADR) (NYSE:TTM) 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 price discounts. The firm has not had a hit car at home since its Indica launch in 1998. The sales of the world’s cheapest car, Nano, which was unveiled in 2008, have been lackluster.

Tata Motors Limited (ADR) (NYSE:TTM) 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.

Karl 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.

Karl Slym was a Stanford alumnus and a Sloan fellow. He was highly respected within auto industry circles and was known for his wit and cheerful demeanor.

Slym fell from 22nd floor

Karl Slym fell from the 22nd floor of Shangri-La hotel to the fourth floor. On Monday, Thailand police ruled out the possibility of murder. Once the post-mortem is completed later in the day, more clarity is expected.

Police lieutenant Somyot Boonyakaew, who is heading the investigation, said “We didn’t find any sign of a struggle. 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”.

It is believed a suicide note left behind by Karl Slym may hold the key to his mysterious death.

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