Forster Says Ta-Ta To Tata

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

After only 18 months on the job (and he did a good job) Carl-Peter Forster resigned his job as group CEO and managing director of Tata Motors. In a press release, Tata cites “unavoidable personal circumstances”. The industry is scratching their combined heads: What are those reasons? Are they real, or the usual BS?

Tata should be pleased with Forster’s performance. During his watch, Tata’s profit shot up. In the fiscal year that ended 2011, Tata’s profits increased 300 percent, reports Automobilwoche [sub]. Jaguar and Land Rover are making money again. The Nano is still a basket case, but it was inherited by Forster. A Foster-child as opposed to a Forster-child.

Forster’s own statement does not bring more clarity:

“I deeply regret that my personal circumstances make it difficult for me to continue to perform the challenging duties of managing the thriving global activities of the Tata Motors Group with its main activities in India and the UK and increasingly in additional overseas markets.”

Son of a German diplomat, Forster was born in London, and raised in Athens and Bonn. After a successful career at BMW, Forster was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of Opel in April 2001. In June 2004, he became President of GM Europe. Forster did not agree with GM’s decision to not sell Opel to Magna and resigned 3 days after the announcement. 3 months later, he emerged as the CEO of Tata.

Forster will stay on as a non-executive director and board member of Tata.

If you know how to successfully run a large car company, send your resume to Tata. Not only are they looking for a replacement of Forster, the hunt is still on for s successor of Chairman Ratan Tata who will soon turn 75.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 10, 2011

    I'm inclined to believe it actually IS "personal circumstances", given the hint referring to UK, India and overseas markets. That's a lot of travel, and the personal circumstances could be health, either his own or a relative's, that makes the travel onerous.

    • LordDetroitofLondon LordDetroitofLondon on Sep 13, 2011

      +1. He must have underestimated the effort required in running a company with such a wide variety of operations, with a diversified business portfolio.

  • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Sep 11, 2011

    Sex scandal involving two Sikhs and a Jaguar.