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.