Jaguar Land Rover's CEO David Smith resigns

David Smith is CEO of Jaguar Land Rover
The CEO of Tata Motor's UK subsidiary Jaguar Land Rover David Smith abruptly resigned yesterday, triggering speculation that he is quitting in a huff on being relegated to playing second fiddle to former CEO of General Motors' European operations Carl-Peter Forster, who is slated for a senior position in the company.

Ravi Kant, the non-executive vice chairman of Tata Motors will be taking over from Smith, who is stepping down with immediate effect, the company said in a statement.

Without assigning reasons for his abrupt departure, the carmaker said in a brief release, "The company would like to thank David for his efforts in the role and for his service to Jaguar and Land Rover over many years."

Smith, who was the finance director at JLR when Tata Motors acquired the iconic brands from Ford in 2008 for $2.3 billion, was catapulted to the CEO's position by Tata's and had since been waging a battle to keep the company afloat after the UK car industry faced a near collapse from the world's worst recession in 2008-2009.

His departure also comes at a time, when he was negotiating with the unions on cutting new employee's wages to about 80 per cent and closing the final salary pension scheme to new workers in lieu of guaranteeing jobs till 2015 for 8,000 full-time employees.

But with talks collaping after six day of union negotiations on Saturday, media speculation has been rife as to whether this was the reason for his resignation as many felt he was uncomfortable imposing new conditions on workers.