The appointment of Carl-Peter Forster as CEO of Tata Motors seems so logical, and has been hanging in the air for so long, that it is almost a shock that it has finally happened. In the motor industry, profoundly sensible things have a habit of not happening. However, it strikes me that Forster's elevation is great news both for the long-term future - and status - of Tata's worldwide automotive business, and for Jaguar and Land Rover in particular.
Forster will bring a new vigour and a Eurocentric awareness to the ambitious Indian business that it has lacked until now (even if Fiat's Sergio Marchionne has perceived its abilities and ambitions by appointing Ratan Tata to the Fiat board). For the British marques this looks like long-term good news, though there may be some short-term discomfort in the Midlands.
Recently departed JLR boss David Smith did a fundamentally good job, but was deemed to be proceeding too slowly with corporate plans, and not to have been enough of a 'car guy'. Forster knows the Midlands companies having been at BMW when the Munich company was trying to make a modern concern out of Rover, and is doubtless full of bold ideas about how he'll do it better this time. I would expect the local management at Jaguar and Land Rover to be getting some early benefit of his advice.
Everybody inside Tata/JLR - and those outside - will benefit from Forster's communication skills. He is quite brilliant at winning friends to his cause and enthusing his colleagues.
If JLR is close to the top of his priority list, which it should be, we are in for an exciting ride.