Tata Motors executive's fatal hotel fall may be a suicide, Thai police say

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:29am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 6:40pm

Thailand police investigating the death of Tata Motors managing director Karl Slym said initial investigations pointed to a suicide, as there were no signs of a struggle before he fell from his 22nd-floor suite at a Bangkok hotel.

Lead investigator Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonnakaew told Bloomberg on Monday: “The preliminary investigation indicates that this may be suicide. We don’t think it’s murder because there is no trace of a struggle.”

A letter was also found in his room, but it was unclear if it was a suicide note, the report said.

Slym, 51, fell out of a small vent window, next to a wide picture window that cannot be opened, in his hotel room at the Shangri-La hotel.

“It would be difficult to force him out of such a small window,” Somyot told Bloomberg.

Police said they would interview Slym’s wife, Sally, who accompanied him on the trip. A post-mortem examination was likely to be conducted on Monday.

The Tata Motors chief, described as a strong leader who wanted to effect long-term changes in the business, was overseeing the company’s India business, particularly on promoting the egg-shaped Nano car. His department posted a loss after the vehicle failed to attract clients, the report said.

Slym was attending a board meeting in Thailand.

"Tata Motors deeply regrets to announce the untimely and tragic demise of its managing director, Karl Slym, in Bangkok earlier today," the company said. "Karl Slym was in Bangkok to attend a meeting of the board of directors of Tata Motors Thailand Ltd."

According to The Economic Times, he accidentally lost his balance and fell.

The Briton had been managing director of Tata, India's leading automotive group, since joining in 2012. He had led its operations in India and international markets, excluding the Jaguar and Land Rover businesses.

Slym, a graduate of Stanford University, had previously been executive vice-president of SGMW Motors, China, a General Motors joint venture, and president of General Motors in India.