As reported in the Financial Times, Dr Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, is to step down from his position when his contract comes to an end in September 2020.
It is expected that Speth will focus on his position on the board of Tata Sons, the holding company for Jaguar Land Rover’s owner, and will reportedly remain in an advisory role. Speth, a German engineer, was brought into the Jaguar Land Rover in 2010 following its acquisition by Tata Motors from Ford Motor Company.
Speth has led a wholesale rejuvenation of the business, opening plants overseas and driving a strong rise in profits from markets such as China and the US on the back of its Range Rover models. Under his leadership, the business opened plants in Slovakia and Brazil and an engine plant in China, and also built its first, fully electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace.
However, Jaguar Land Rover has recently been forced to lay off staff and announced an overhaul of its entire business, after sales slowed and the group made losses. The main cause for this is believed to be due to the public’s rejection of diesel technology, along with a slowdown in China which reportedly impacted the company more than other premium brands. In the three months to September 2019, the Jaguar Land Rover reported that it returned to profit following its plans to cut £2.5 billion of costs.
During his time as CEO, Speth is said to have championed UK manufacturing and encouraged more investment in UK battery technology, which would allow the car maker to procure materials for electric vehicles in Britain.