Tata asks Jaguar Land Rover CEO to delay retirement, report says

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LONDON — Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth has been asked to delay his retirement to help the automaker get through the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

JLR parent Tata Motors said in January that Speth would retire from his position in September.

Tata now wants Speth to stay on longer, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Speth, who turns 65 in September, has led JLR since 2010. He turned around the struggling UK automaker that Tata bought from Ford Motor in 2008.

Under Speth, JLR pursued a major global expansion, adding new factories in China, Brazil and Slovakia.

JLR was spectacularly profitable under Speth, recording double digit margins from 2011-2015 but its growth model came unstuck as the Chinese market cooled. The company posted a 3.6 billion pound ($4.5 billion) loss for the financial year ending March 2019. Before the coronavirus crisis, it had returned to profitability.

Speth was due to become JLR’s non-executive vice chairman after his retirement and remain on the board of Tata Sons, the holding company of Tata Motors.

Tata said in January it was looking for a successor to Speth.

“Subsequent to the announcement on Jan. 30, the board has constituted a search committee to work to identify a suitable successor in the coming months. The search process is on,” Tata Motors told Automotive News in an emailed response to the Bloomberg report.

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Saurabh Shukla

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