Tata Motors is still expected to seek a replacement for outgoing Jaguar Land Rover chief executive David Smith despite bringing in a new man to oversee it’s global operations.
Carl-Peter Forster will take over as group chief executive officer of JLR’s Indian owner, and his remit will include the responsibility for the Midland-based Jaguar and Land Rover brands.
However, it is understood that Tata will still search for a full time JLR chief executive after Mr Smith confirmed he was parting company.
Mr Forster, aged 55, was most recently the head of General Motors in Europe, looking after Opel/Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet’s European operations.
He will fill the shoes of Ravi Kant, who served as managing director of Tata Motors from 2005 to 2009, when he stepped down to become vice chairman. Mr Kant has also served as an interim chief executive of JLR in recent months.
Smith was installed in 2008 after Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover from Ford for £1.47 billion.
Spokesman Debasis Ray said that the company was still deciding whether to appoint a replacement for Smith.
Tata Motors’ India business has been booming, with revenues from the December quarter up 88.7 per cent, to £1.2 billion, from that period a year ago.
But Jaguar Land Rover has continued to weigh on the company, despite aggressive cost control measures, including job cuts. Tata said the unit lost £60 million during the quarter which ended on September 30, even as Tata as a whole swung to profitability.
Vaishali Jajoo, an analyst at Mumbai’s Angel Broking, said Mr Forster’s appointment would allow Tata Motors, which has only recently pushed into Europe, to acquire overseas expertise and become a more successful global player.
“Tata Motors is looking globally,” she said. “They want to export their products.”