Opinion

'The JLR management merry-go-round is up and running'

With JLR CEO Sir Ralph Speth retiring, Steve Fowler looks at who in the automotive industry looks set to replace him

OPINION Sir Ralph Speth

We’ve expected it for a while, but the news of JLR CEO Sir Ralf Speth’s retirement is still a seismic event in the UK car industry. He sits at the top of a company that employs around 40,000 people globally, of which close to 35,000 are in the UK. Without his leadership, Land Rover and Jaguar wouldn’t be what they are today: the envy of other car makers around the world.

 It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Speth, though. Incredible highs, with the launch of some brilliant new cars (including four Auto Express Car of the Year Awards during his tenure) and, more recently, some seriously difficult times. He leaves the company in a much better place than when he became CEO in 2010, but there’s still much to do, not least in improving reliability and service.

Best SUVs to buy

But herein starts a managerial merry-go-round with wide-ranging implications. There’ll be plenty of internal candidates for the job, including rising Auto Express Brit List star and current JLR engineering director Nick Rogers (Speth himself has an engineering background). Former Land Rover MD and now Lotus CEO Phil Popham must be on the list – although that’d be a tough place to leave.

Auto Express Hall of Fame inductee Mike Manley has already been mentioned in reports. He’s currently CEO of FCA, but won’t be running the combined FCA/PSA company. Mike’s success at FCA and Jeep won’t have gone unnoticed; he could be just what JLR needs.

Also this week, Aston Martin has a new chairman. And former SEAT CEO Luca de Meo has finally been confirmed as the new boss of Renault. That’s hugely significant; the French brand is showing great signs for the future, and with someone as good as de Meo at the helm, it’s even more exciting. 

That’s how important getting the right CEO is, as PSA proved when it appointed Carlos Tavares in 2014. Its brands haven’t looked back since. So good luck to Tata in the search for Speth’s successor, a crucial role for JLR and the UK.

What do you think JLR's future should look like? Let us know in the comments below...

Recommended

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’
Opinion - Jaguar
Jaguar

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Jaguar's rebirth is a risk worth taking
15 Jun 2022
Exclusive: Jaguar's bold roadmap to a luxury car range by 2025
Jaguar F-Type V6S badge
Jaguar

Exclusive: Jaguar's bold roadmap to a luxury car range by 2025

In an exclusive interview, Jaguar Land Rover's Executive Director of Vehicle Programmes, Nick Collins, reveals plans to transform the Jaguar brand by …
14 Jun 2022
Best British modern classic cars 2022
Best British modern classics - header image
Modern classics

Best British modern classic cars 2022

Britain has its fair share of automotive icons, with many now finding themselves at a tempting price
24 May 2022
New Jaguar XE and XF 300 Sport models introduced
Jaguar XE 300 Sport
Jaguar

New Jaguar XE and XF 300 Sport models introduced

Luxuriously appointed Jaguar XE and XF saloons come with four-cylinder mild-hybrid petrol power
26 Apr 2022

Most Popular

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work
speed limiters
News

EU demands speed limiters on all new cars from next week: know the rules and how they work

Car industry body calls for UK government to adopt the new measures, but we’ll probably get them anyway…
29 Jun 2022
New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range
New MG 4 2023
News

New MG 4 electric hatch arrives with 280 miles of range

The all-electric MG 4 hatchback rivals the Volkswagen ID.3 and introduces MG’s new MSP electric platform
28 Jun 2022
New Toyota Corolla prototype review
Toyota Corolla prototype - front
Road tests

New Toyota Corolla prototype review

We try out the updated Toyota Corolla hybrid ahead of its official arrival
30 Jun 2022