NEW DELHI (AFP) ― India’s Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym died on Sunday after apparently falling at a hotel in Bangkok where he was attending a board meeting, a company spokeswoman and reports said.
“Tata Motors deeply regrets to announce the untimely and tragic demise of its Managing Director, Karl Slym, in Bangkok earlier today,” the company said in a statement.
“Karl Slym was in Bangkok to attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of Tata Motors Thailand Ltd.”
Slym, 51, died in a fall, Tata spokeswoman Minari Shah told AFP, but declined to give further details, saying a post mortem examination was likely to be conducted on Monday.
According to the Press Trust of India news agency, Slym seemed to have fallen from a high floor of the hotel building.
The Economic Times reported that he accidentally lost his balance and fell.
The Briton had been Tata’s managing director since joining the country’s leading automotive group in 2012. He had led Tata’s operations in India and international markets, excluding the Jaguar and Land Rover businesses.
Tata chairman Cyrus P Mistry paid tribute to Slym, “a valued colleague who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry.”
“In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl’s wife and family,” Mistry said in a statement.
Slym, a graduate of Stanford University, had previously been executive vice president of SGMW Motors, China, a General Motors joint venture, and been president of General Motors in India.
Tata Motors, part of the giant steel-to-software Tata Group, reported in November its quarterly net profit surged by a surprise 71 percent, as a stellar performance by its British luxury marque Jaguar Land Rover offset a dive in domestic sales.
The vehicle giant, which also makes the low-cost Nano hatchback, reported its consolidated second-quarter net profit climbed to 35.42 billion rupees ($558 million) from 20.75 billion rupees a year earlier.