JLR ED & CEO Ralph Speth
JLR ED & CEO Ralph Speth

Ralf Speth has decided to retire from his current role as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) at the end of his contract term in September 2020, Chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and JLR Natarajan Chandrasekaran said on Thursday.

"I want to thank Ralf for his passion and commitment over the last 10 years. Ralf developed JLR from a niche UK centric manufacturer to a respected, technological leading, global premium company," said Chandrasekaran in a statement.

"I am delighted that Ralf has agreed to maintain his relationship with JLR by becoming non-executive Vice Chairman. He will also remain on the board of Tata Sons," added Chandrasekaran.

A search committee has been formed to identify a suitable successor in the coming months. JLR, part of Tata Motors since 2008, is Britain's largest automotive manufacturer.

Ralf, a German engineer, was brought into the British premium group following its acquisition by Tata Motors from Ford.

He oversaw a wholesale rejuvenation of the business, opening plants overseas and driving a strong rise in profits from markets such as China and the United States on the back of its Range Rover models.

Ralf said: "I feel very honoured to have worked with so many dedicated and creative people, both inside and outside of JLR. We have elevated Jaguar and Land Rover. We offer our customers multi-award-winning products and will continue to surprise with the best pipeline of new, innovative products we have ever had." Personally, said Ralf, he is looking forward to new and exciting challenges.

JLR has laid off thousands of staff in recent months and announced an overhaul of its entire business after sales slowed and the group plunged into losses, primarily because of public rejection of its diesel technology. A slowdown in China too affected JLR sales.

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