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Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth Will Step Down In September

Ralf Speth has been at the helm of Jaguar Land Rover since 2010 but his contract won’t be renewed when it expires in September 2020.

The Tata-owned automaker today announced that Ralf Speth has decided to retire from his current role as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Jaguar Land Rover at the end of his contract term in September 2020.

“I want to thank Ralf for his passion and commitment over the last 10 years.  Ralf developed Jaguar Land Rover from a niche UK centric manufacturer to a respected, technological leading, global premium company,” said Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons, Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover plc.

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In the short statement, Chandrasekaran also said Ralf Speth will become non-executive Vice Chairman and will remain on the board of Tata Sons. Jaguar Land Rover did not announce who will succeed Speth as CEO but the search has already begun. “A search committee has been formed which will work with me to identify a suitable successor in the coming months,” Chandrasekaran said.

According to Financial Times, Tata Motors board member Hanne Sorensen is seen as a possible replacement. Sorensen is a former CEO of Maersk Tankers, the world’s largest product tanker company.

During Speth’s 10-year tenure, Jaguar Land Rover saw both a historic revitalization and a crisis that led to thousands of layoffs and the cancellation of billions’ worth of investments. The former BMW executive oversaw the opening of plants overseas and rise in profits from markets such as China and the U.S., thanks mostly to Range Rover models.

Under his leadership, JLR opened vehicle assembly plants in Slovakia and Brazil, as well as an engine plant in China. The company also built its first all-electric model, the Jaguar I-Pace, and reinvented an icon, the Land Rover Defender.

Speth also had to weather a big crisis after sales slowed and the group started posting massive losses. JLR was forced to lay off thousands of employees and announce a big overhaul of its entire business.

“I feel very honored to have worked with so many dedicated and creative people, both inside and outside of Jaguar Land Rover. We have elevated Jaguar and Land Rover. I want to say thank you for all their support and commitment,” Ralf Speth said, adding that he’s “looking forward to new and exciting challenges.”