Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) chief executive Ralf Speth will step down when his contract ends in September.
The 65-year-old is set to focus on a position on the board of Tata Sons, the holding company for JLR’s owner, and will remain in at the UK carmaker as a non-executive director as a specially-appointed committee begins the search for a replacement.
A statement issued by Natarajan Chandrasekaran, chairman of parent company Tata Motors, praised Speth, who has been in charge of JLR since Tata bought the British carmaker from Ford in 2010, for his “passion and commitment over the last 10 years”.
Chandrasekaran said that Speth had been central to the transformation of the OEM “from a niche UK-centric manufacturer to a respected, technological leading, global premium company”.
Speth said: “I feel very honoured to have worked with so many dedicated and creative people, both inside and outside of Jaguar Land Rover. We have elevated Jaguar and Land Rover. I want to say thank you for all their support and commitment.
“We offer our customers multi-award-winning products and will continue to surprise with the best pipeline of new, innovative products we have ever had.
“Personally, I am looking forward to new and exciting challenges."
During Speth’s time at the helm of JLR the manufacturer made a determined push into SUVs with the Jaguar brand’s F-Pace, E-Pace and I-Pace electric vehicle (EV) models and brought Range Rover to a new audience with the introduction of the Evoque, an accompanying investment in UK manufacturing and research facilities backing the push for new product lines.
The OEM has also opened production plants in China, the US and Slovakia.
Falling demand for diesel engines and a dip in sales in China has hit the business hard in recent times, however, with its Project Charge programme launched in a bid to make £2.5 billion of operational savings.
Last week the manufacturer announced 500 job cuts at its Halewood plant, citing the need to deliver “significant operating efficiencies at the plant".