Thai police investigating how Tata Managing Director Karl Slym died said he had an argument with his wife on the eve of his death. The police also say evidence points to suicide in the fall from the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok.
Managing Director Karl Slym headed Tata Motors, except for the Jaguar Land Rover business, before his Jan. 26 death – now, the company is facing a leadership vacuum at those operations, complicating Mumbai-based Tata’s ability to navigate through falling market share in India’s declining auto industry.
Tata Motors, which relies on its Jaguar Land Rover unit for the bulk of its profits, fell the most in a year in Mumbai trading yesterday as the shock of Slym’s death rippled across India’s car industry. While the company has yet to decide on who will lead the India business, Slym’s successor will face the choice of building on a 16-month effort that has yet to bear fruit or change course.
Thai police said yesterday 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. Slym was found on Jan. 26, having fallen out of a small window from his suite on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok, according to police.
Sally Slym went to bed after the argument and learned of her husband’s death after being awoken by authorities the next morning, Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonnakaew, who’s leading the probe, said, citing her testimony. The letter found in the deceased executive’s hotel room was written by her after the row, Somyot said. She expressed her feelings to her husband through a letter, as advised by a family counselor to avoid quarreling, Somyot cited her as saying.