Carl-Peter Forster will take over as group chief executive officer of India’s Tata Motors, with responsibility for all global operations including the troubled Jaguar and Land Rover brands, the company said today.
Forster, 55, was most recently the head of General Motors in Europe, looking after Opel/Vauxhall, Saab and Chevrolet’s European operations.
He will fill the shoes of Ravi Kant, who served as managing director of Tata Motors from 2005 to 2009, when he stepped down to become vice chairman.
In January, the head of Jaguar Land Rover, David Smith, resigned and Kant took over as interim chief executive.
Smith was installed in 2008 after Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover from Ford for $2.3bn.
Spokesman Debasis Ray said that the company was still deciding whether to appoint a replacement for Smith.
Tata Motors’ India business has been booming, with revenues from the December quarter up 88.7%, to 89.8 billion rupees, from that period a year ago.
But Jaguar Land Rover has continued to weigh on the company, despite aggressive cost control measures, including job cuts. Tata said the unit lost £60m during the quarter which ended on September 30, even as Tata as a whole swung to profitability.
Vaishali Jajoo, an analyst at Mumbai’s Angel Broking, said Forster’s appointment would allow Tata Motors, which has only recently pushed into Europe, to acquire overseas expertise and become a more successful global player.
“Tata Motors is looking globally,” she said. “They want to export their products.”