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Ralf Speth resigns as JLR CEO

Ralf Speth will retire as executive director and CEO of Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover at the end of his contract term in September 2020, the automaker announced on Thursday (30 January). He'll become non executive vice chairman.

The announcement was made in a statement by Tata Sons', Tata Motors and Jaguar Land Rover chairman Mr Chandrasekaran.

He said: "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.

"I am delighted that Ralf has agreed to maintain his relationship with Jaguar Land Rover by becoming non executive vice chairman.

"[He] will also remain on the board of Tata Sons.

"A search committee has been formed which will work with me to identify a suitable successor in the coming months."

Speth said: "I feel very honoured 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.

"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, I am looking forward to new and exciting challenges."

Speth's announcement came the day before the UK leaves the UK at 11pm on 31 January (Brexit). He and his fellow senior JLR executives were strong opponents of Brexit, arguing forcefully remaining in the UK under current frictionless trade rules would be better for JLR and the wider UK and European industry.

On Speth's watch, JLR controversially opened its first European factory, in Slovakia, transferring Land Rover Discovery build there from the brand's historic base in Solihull in England. The automaker received EUR125m in investment aid from Slovakia for the new plant and has since attracted key suppliers to the region.

JLR hit headwinds in 2019, announcing in January it was cutting 4,500 jobs from its global workforce, with most of the reduction set for the UK workforce of 40,000. The company described cost-cutting measures as the 'next phase of major transformation plan to lay foundations for long-term sustainable profitable growth'. The headcount reduction was in addition to the 1,500 who left the company during 2018.

Key JLR models such as the Evoque were launched, renewed or updated during Speth's tenure and the company opened a new engine plant in Wolverhampton, building engines it designed itself to replace older powertrains sourced from and shared with Ford and Volvo.

The automaker also embarked on a bold electrification plan, launching the acclaimed all-electric I-Pace and adding hybrid PHEV variants to existing model ranges.

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