On Monday Tata Motors’ stock fell by over 6% as Thai police confirmed they were treating the death of Managing Director Karl Slym as a possible suicide.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that this may be suicide,” stated Somyot Boonnakaew, the Police Lieutenant who is leading the case.
“We don’t think it’s murder because there is no trace of a struggle.”
Thai police have stated they are in possession of a three-page note potentially written by the 51-year-old, which is now being sent for analysis.
After the news of Slym’s death, the company’s stock fell 6% in Mumbai trading to close at 347.8 rupees – the biggest dive for the company since January 2013.
Thai board meeting
Slym’s wife had accompanied him to the Shangri-La Hotel in Bangkok for a board meeting with the company’s Thai division.
He fell from the window of his room, which was on the 22nd floor of the hotel.
“We found a window open. The window was very small so it was not possible that he would have slipped,” Boonnakaew stated.
“He would have had to climb through the window to fall out because he was a big man. From my initial investigation we believe he jumped.”
A post-mortem is expected to be completed on Monday.
Managing all India-based Tata Motors activities (except the UK’s Jaguar Land Rover operations), the British-born executive had previously worked for the UK division of Toyota, before joining General Motors for a 17-year career spanning roles in India and China.
Originally from Derby, England, Slym had assumed the role of Managing Director at Tata Motors in October 2012.
He was leading operations surrounding the Nano – once marketed as the cheapest car in the world – by shifting focus onto its potential as a second vehicle.
Vikas Sehgal, Managing Director at Rothschild & Sons, notes he “was beginning to make long-term changes at Tata Motors.
Cyrus P Mistry, Chairman of Tata, described Slym as “a valued colleague who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry.”
“In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl’s wife and family,” he continued.