Jaguar Land Rover gets new CEO follwing Tata takeover finalisation
2 June 2008

David Smith has been confirmed as the new full-time CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover after the $2.3bn (£1.16bn) Tata takeover was finalised this week. Smith had combined the roles of acting chief executive and finance director after the untimely death of Geoff Polites last month. He will now lead the JLR Operating Executive Committee. “We’re not expecting any major changes to the way that JLR is run,” an insider close to the management told Autocar. Rumours had been circulating that head-hunters were hunting a new CEO and directors to run the company under Tata, by creating a new board for both companies. However, well placed insiders insist this is not the case. Smith is reported to have impressed Ratan Tata, chairman of JLR’s new parent group, during negotiations to buy JLR. He is said to have been an early link between JLR and Tata and was identified some months ago as a potential successor to Polites, who had hoped to continue running JLR until the end of the year. Ratan Tata has previously said that he respects the British heritage of Jaguar and Land Rover and wants to retain the unique character of the companies and their management. “If you look at our other acquisitions, you will see we have kept management teams in the same place,” he said at the Geneva show.Tata is also understood to be supportive of the way JLR is run with the operating committee staffed by nine directors, half of whom also assume day-to-day responsibility for the brands. A search for a new head of product development will be needed, however, after US-born Al Kammerer left last month for personal reasons.

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