BANGKOK – British boss of Indian car giant Tata Motors, Karl Slym is believed to have ‘jumped to his death’ from a 22nd floor hotel window in Bangkok.
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 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.
They also discovered a three page hand-written note in English his hotel room. They are in the process of translating it into Thai.
‘We didn’t find any sign of a struggle,’ Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonyakaew, who is heading the investigation, told Reuters.
‘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.
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.
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.’
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. – By Lucy Crossley