Currently reading: Confirmed: Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth to step down
The 65-year-old will end his 10-year run as CEO of the British firm in September, but will maintain a non-executive advisory role
James Attwood, digital editor
News
2 mins read
31 January 2020

 

Jaguar Land Rover boss Ralf Speth will step down from his role as executive director and chief executive officer in September, the company has confirmed. 

A statement issued by Mr Chandrasekaran, chairman of parent company Tata Motors, confirmed that Speth “has agreed to maintain his relationship with Jaguar Land Rover by becoming non-executive vice chairman”.  He will also keep a place on the board of holding company Tata Sons. 

A search committee has been formed to look for Speth’s successor, Chandrasekaran revealed. He also praised the CEO for his “passion and commitment over the last 10 years”, turning JLR “from a niche UK-centric manufacturer to a respected, technological leading, global premium company”. 

Speth said in a statement: “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… 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.” 

German-born engineer Speth has been in charge of Jaguar Land Rover since 2010, when Tata bought the company from Ford. During the past decade he has helped the firm to grow substantially, leading an expansion of its model range and a major push into new markets. The firm has opened production plants in China, the US and Slovakia, and widely expanded the company’s line-up, including ground-breaking models such as the electric Jaguar I-Pace.

But Jaguar Land Rover has struggled in recent years, with falling demand for diesel engines and a dip in sales in China leading to a series of major losses. That prompted the firm to launch a £2.5 billion cost-cutting drive, including a number of job losses, which helped the firm to return to profit last year.

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27

30 January 2020

Fingers crossed they pick a transformational replacement.

So they can build a healthy corporate culture.

30 January 2020
JLR are hopeless

30 January 2020
Ford helped Jaguar with a better quality management system, but failed to refresh the design language at Jaguar. That was really their biggest failing, perhaps the only one past selling up (which if they had updated the design language they'd not have had to!).

Past twenty years at Jaguar have seen a revolution, and in no small part that's down to Ian Callum managing to change the design of Jaguars from something your grandfather would complain that it was for his grandfather to something you'd want to buy. Something that if it were parked in your driveway you'd take another look at when going back inside.

There's also been difficulties outside their control, not least this current government firstly changing rules on diesels just as they had invested in modern diesel engines ahead of petrol ones (right decision at the time), and of course Brexit.

But Jaguar were the first of all the premium manufacturers to bring the electric fight to Tesla. Tesla have the drivetrain technology, but Jaguar knows how to build a car and have learned how to do an electric drivetrain!

They're doing a lot right.

31 January 2020
Symanski wrote:

Ford helped Jaguar with a better quality management system, but failed to refresh the design language at Jaguar. That was really their biggest failing, perhaps the only one past selling up (which if they had updated the design language they'd not have had to!).

Past twenty years at Jaguar have seen a revolution, and in no small part that's down to Ian Callum managing to change the design of Jaguars from something your grandfather would complain that it was for his grandfather to something you'd want to buy. Something that if it were parked in your driveway you'd take another look at when going back inside.

There's also been difficulties outside their control, not least this current government firstly changing rules on diesels just as they had invested in modern diesel engines ahead of petrol ones (right decision at the time), and of course Brexit.

But Jaguar were the first of all the premium manufacturers to bring the electric fight to Tesla. Tesla have the drivetrain technology, but Jaguar knows how to build a car and have learned how to do an electric drivetrain!

They're doing a lot right.

The design at Jaguar has changed, sure.

BUT - that people want to buy? Then why aren't they?

Saloons in general have been flagging in sales - but Jaguar's particularly. Not wholly a design issue, but some of the blame must go there.

Gerry McGovern should be mentioned when talking about JLR design also. Discovery 5. #EnoughSaid

Ford gave JLR both the D8 and D7 platforms.

Ford gave JLR ALL of their products over Tata's 10 year tenure, only now are JLR about to bring out something based on a new architecture. Massively late.

30 January 2020
Bet they have their eyes on Herbert Diess or Oliver Zipse.

And don't be surprised if the new Chief will try and woo Peter Horbury from Volvo with Gerry booted.

Fun and games ahead.

30 January 2020
Bet they have their eyes on Herbert Diess or Oliver Zipse.

And don't be surprised if the new Chief will try and woo Peter Horbury from Volvo with Gerry booted.

Fun and games ahead.

30 January 2020

Speth has done a great job of scaling JLR up. We are in difficult times where no one really knows how fast the switch to electric will happen. For people to criticise him on this is particularly unfair given Mercedes and BMWs struggles with electric cars. JLR have had to deal with a lot more than most manufacturers over the last decade given the state Ford left them in.

JLR now need to focus on reliability above all else. If they crack growth will come very fast

 

30 January 2020
TStag wrote:

Speth has done a great job of scaling JLR up. We are in difficult times where no one really knows how fast the switch to electric will happen. For people to criticise him on this is particularly unfair given Mercedes and BMWs struggles with electric cars. JLR have had to deal with a lot more than most manufacturers over the last decade given the state Ford left them in.

JLR now need to focus on reliability above all else. If they crack growth will come very fast

 

He undoubtedly did in the early days of his leadership, but it is entirely fair and justified to criticise his leadership of a company that has developed a business model as flawed as JLR's. It's a company that has a model line up with almost no distinction from one model to the next, all models are over engineered and unnecessarily complex for the market they are being presented to, leading to expensive, heavy and unreliable vehicles, reliant on diesel powerplants and as we've seen, that's had a huge impact on resilience when the market shifted, their platform strategy has also been chaotic. People often criticise German brands for their huge range of niche models, but this is a proven business model that allows feet in many markets that spreads corporate risk and allows manufacturers to quickly react to changing markets, only electric models have caught every one out, with Teslsa massively disrupting the market, but everyone, including JLR are catching up.

30 January 2020

Unfortunately, Speth chose to pursue a strategy of chasing volume, which had previously been shown to be inappropriate under Ford. At the time he took over, Jaguar had started to carve out a niche in the upper end of the premium / luxury segment where margins are higher with cars like the 2008 XF and 2007 XK, which were more modern but still retained recognisable Jaguar characteristics. The company were focussing on being different to the German competitors and picking up those higher end sales as a result. Speth turned this on its head by deciding to copy the Germans instead. 

Unfortunately, JLR did not have the funds needed to deliver a huge model expansion while protecting quality, reliability and design integrity. The result is a range of bland, poorly made, unreliable and cheaply finished cars that, while they have their merits, are not competitive or compelling enough to win either conquest sales or to retain existing customers.

Coupled to this, he bet the company on diesel engines late in the game and didn't explore hybrid technologies. When the Ingenium came out, it was mediocre.

Finally, serious cultural problems within the organisation haven't been tackled and have consequently added to the difficulties.

 

30 January 2020

Unfortunately, Speth chose to pursue a strategy of chasing volume, which had previously been shown to be inappropriate under Ford. At the time he took over, Jaguar had started to carve out a niche in the upper end of the premium / luxury segment where margins are higher with cars like the 2008 XF and 2007 XK, which were more modern but still retained recognisable Jaguar characteristics. The company were focussing on being different to the German competitors and picking up those higher end sales as a result. Speth turned this on its head by deciding to copy the Germans instead. 

Unfortunately, JLR did not have the funds needed to deliver a huge model expansion while protecting quality, reliability and design integrity. The result is a range of bland, poorly made, unreliable and cheaply finished cars that, while they have their merits, are not competitive or compelling enough to win either conquest sales or to retain existing customers.

Coupled to this, he bet the company on diesel engines late in the game and didn't explore hybrid technologies. When the Ingenium came out, it was mediocre.

Finally, serious cultural problems within the organisation haven't been tackled and have consequently added to the difficulties.

 

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