Executive death raises concern over Tata Motors image

The suspected suicide of Managing Director Karl Slym, hired in 2012 to revive Tata’s India operations is now casting a shadow over the company’s possibilities to ensure its loses and rejuvenate is ailing business.

According to data provider CMA, the cost for insuring the debt of Jaguar Land Rover’s owner against non-payment for five years jumped 69 basis points last month to 509, the biggest monthly increase since September 2011.

The death of Slym may hurt Tata Motors’ plans to boost local sales that fell 37 % in the last nine months. This amounts on top the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers grim predictions, the group saying that industry deliveries are set for the first annual drop in the last ten years, amid rising interest rates and an economic downturn.

“Slym was trying to turn around the local business of Tata Motors, especially the passenger car side,” said in a interview Juergen Maier, a fund manager in Vienna at Raiffeisen Capital Management, which oversees about $1.1 billion in emerging-market assets. “It will take another three to five years to revive the passenger car business, and will require the development of new models that have good quality and that can compete against Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai.”

According to police, Slym was found dead on January 26 after falling out of a window from his suite on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok. Last week, Thai officials pointed out that preliminary evidence indicated that the 51-year-old executive, who was in the country to attend a board meeting of the company’s Thai unit, committed suicide.

Via Bloomberg