Posted by News Express | 27 January 2014 | 4,981 times
The British boss of Indian car giant Tata Motors is believed to have ‘jumped to his death’ from a 22nd floor hotel window in Bangkok after an argument with his wife.
Karl Slym, 51, was discovered at the foot of the towering Shangri-La hotel in the city’s upmarket Yannawa district on Sunday morning.
Police found a three page hand-written letter in his room which is said to have detailed domestic problems Mr Slym was having with his wife Sally.
His grieving wife today told Thai police she wrote the letter to her husband after the couple had an argument before she went to bed.
When she woke up, Mrs Slym discovered her husband ‘leapt from their hotel room’ to his death.
‘We rowed and rowed about family business from about 7 pm,’ said Mrs Slym. ‘Then I wrote a long letter and went to bed.
‘The first I knew about my husband's death was in the morning when police called to my room.’
Mrs Slym was interviewed by Police Colonel Sinlert Sukhum and Police Lieutenant Somyod Bunnakaew.
A police spokesman said: ‘The wife said that they had rowed so much about a family problem that she could not talk to her husband any more.
‘They had been fighting and it had become very loud. She went to the bedroom and decided to write her husband a letter to let him know how she felt. She gave it to her husband and then went to sleep.’
Thai Police said they could not give the details of the ‘family problem’.
The body of Karl Slym was found on a ledge on the fourth floor of the riverside Shangri-La hotel.
Police believe Mr Slym’s death may have been a suicide as they claim it would have been impossible to accidentally fall from the hotel window from which he fell.
Police Lieutenant Somyot Bunnakaew said: ‘We didn’t find any sign of a struggle. We found a window open. The window was very small so it was not possible that he would have slipped.
‘He would have had to climb through the window to fall out because he was a big man. From my initial investigation we believe he jumped.’
The executive, originally from Derby, had checked into the five-star hotel with British wife Sally on Friday and had been due to check out yesterday.
But Thai police said they were called to the hotel around 7.45am on Sunday after staff found Slym’s body.
They woke up Slym’s wife, who looked shocked when she was told what had happened to her husband.
Police have launched an investigation into his death and a post-mortem examination will be carried out in Bangkok today.
Mr Slym joined ailing Tata Motors in 2012, giving up the role of executive vice-president of SGMW Motors China, a General Motors joint venture. He had headed General Motors in India before that.
He was head-hunted for Mumbai to overhaul Tata’s lacklustre manufacturing, sales and distribution operations, including the ultra-cheap Nano car.
As well as being in charge of the car maker’s operations in India, Mr Slym was responsible for Tata Motors’ interests in South Korea, Thailand and South Africa. He had travelled to Bangkok to attend a board meeting of Tata Motors’ Thailand unit.
He had recently announced a huge retirement programme that would lead to thousands of job losses.
Last night, Tata Motors chairman Cyrus Mistry paid tribute to Mr Slym and offered his sympathies to his family.
He said: ‘Karl joined us in October 2012 and was a valued colleague, who was providing strong leadership at a challenging time for the Indian auto industry.
‘In this hour of grief, our thoughts are with Karl’s wife and family.’
A spokesman said the company ‘deeply regrets to announce the untimely and tragic death of Mr Slym’.
Renault India executive director Sumit Sawhney said: ‘It’s a big personal loss. He was a close friend. We were like family members. It’s really sad. He was one of those people who would go out of their way to help out a friend.’
A car industry analyst said Mr Slym had been instrumental in leading Tata Motors out of its troubles.
The firm recently brought out a new petrol engine and is planning to launch new hatchback and saloon models later this year.
Anil Sharma, of HIS Automotive, said: ‘His death comes before his efforts bear fruit. We should be able to see the results of his work in a year or two.’
But the company’s shares dropped by more than six per cent following the news of Mr Slym’s death.
Born and raised in Derby, Mr Slym remained a loyal fan of Derby County Football Club despite a flourishing career that saw him travel around the world.
Friends described Slym as a jovial man who loved cricket and Indian films. He was also active on Twitter, often promoting Tata Motors products and avidly commenting on sports.
On his Twitter profile, Slym described himself as a ‘Britisher who just can’t stay away from India!! Crazy for most sports and loves to know what’s going on everywhere!! And hearing from everyone!!’
‘He was quite an affable, chilled-out, cool guy ... He loved cricket and Bollywood like any Indian,’ said Hormazd Sorabjee, editor of Autocar India and a friend of Slym’s.
‘From his point of view, at Tata Motors there was definitely light at the end of the tunnel.’
Mr Slym and his wife, who have been married for 30 years but never had children, have lived in seven different countries.
However, he had previously told Forbes India that the couple had found it difficult to settle in there.
‘Both my wife and I have said that India is the most difficult country to get used to. There are some things you fight and you don’t accept when you get here,’ he said.
‘Normally, it takes two to three weeks to set up our house and start living a normal life. But here it took probably two months before our set-up became OK.
‘We do immerse ourselves. We have one house in the world and that’s in India. We don’t have my wife going to her hometown every six months.’
Tata Motors is part of the vast business empire controlled by India’s Tata family, an entrepreneurial dynasty with interests in everything from retail to steel-making.
The Mumbai-headquartered firm employs 60,000 staff and racked up sales of £21billion in the financial year 2012/13, making it India’s biggest car manufacturer.
•Credit (except headline): Daily Mail. Photo shows Karl Slym and his wife Sally, pictured during an awards ceremony in Dubai.
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