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Tata Motors executive dies in Thailand; police suspect suicide

Karl Slym, managing director of India's Tata Motors, died after falling from a hotel room in Bangkok in what police said on Monday could be possible suicide.

Slym, 51, had attended a board meeting of Tata's Thailand unit in the Thai capital and was staying with his wife in a room on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel. Hotel staff found his body on Sunday on the fourth floor, which juts out above lower floors.

"We didn't find any sign of a struggle," Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonyakaew, who is heading the investigation, told Reuters.

(Read more: Tata Motors executive Slym dies in fall from hotel)

"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 police found a three-page note, written in English, which they were translating into Thai. An autopsy on Slym's body should begin on Monday.

A spokeswoman for Tata Motors, India's biggest automaker, declined to comment on the possible cause of Slym's death. A company statement on Sunday said Slym had provided leadership in a challenging market environment.

Turning the corner

Slym, a British national, was hired in 2012 to revive Tata's flagging sales and market share in India. Tata Motors is part of the Tata conglomerate.

(Read more: Singapore Air, Tata venture orders Airbus planes)

"His death comes at a time when the company seems to be close to turning the corner," said Anil Sharma, an analyst with researchers IHS Automotive. "It comes before his efforts bear fruit. We should be able to see the results in a year or two."

Tata Motors recently introduced a new petrol engine for its passenger vehicles and was planning to launch a hatchback and compact sedan this year, the first all-new Tata-branded passenger vehicles since 2010.

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