Geneva was the first chance to get an insight into JLR’s enthusiastic new CEO, Ralf Speth.
Speth is the most significant new boss at JLR in recent years, possibly since the legendary Wolfgang Reitzle ruled the roost at Whitley and Gaydon, and he’s the first injection of outside management expertise since Tata tookover in 2008.
He’ll run both Jaguar and Land Rover, having replaced David Smith, and will oversee the key decisions that Jag boss Mike O’Driscoll and LR boss Phil Popham will make in coming weeks, months and years.
When Speth’s name was announced, it resonated, but I couldn’t pin down why. Now I know.
Speth was the vehicle line-director for the X5 when BMW owned Rover Group and was involved in key engineering and design decisions when the Range Rover was being created. His name regularly cropped up in those days.
He was closely aligned with Wolfgang Reitzle and when Ford bought LR in July 2001, he transferred over. He also followed Reitzle out of LR to German gases company Linde.