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Police Say Tata’s Slym Quarreled With Wife Before Death

Deceased Tata Motors Managing Director Karl Slym
Karl Slym, deceased managing director of Tata Motors Ltd., pauses during an interview in Mumbai on April 3, 2013. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Thai police investigating how Tata Motors Ltd. Managing Director Karl Slym died said he had an argument with his wife on the eve of his death.

Sally Slym went to bed after the argument and learned of her husband’s death after being awoken by authorities the next morning, Police Lieutenant Somyot Boonnakaew, who’s leading the probe, said by phone today, citing her testimony. The letter found in the deceased executive’s hotel room was written by her after the row, Somyot said. She expressed her feelings to her husband through a letter, as advised by a family counselor to avoid quarreling, Somyot cited her as saying.

Thai police said yesterday that preliminary evidence indicated that the 51-year-old executive, who was in the country to attend a board meeting of the company’s Thai unit, committed suicide. Slym was found on Jan. 26, having fallen out of a small window from his suite on the 22nd floor of the Shangri-La hotel in Bangkok, according to police.

Somyot said that Slym’s wife didn’t suspect murder. Police are awaiting details from the autopsy report and forensic evidence from the room before concluding the investigation, he said.

Slym, who joined the company in 2012 after a 17-year career at General Motors Co., was in charge of Tata Motors -- except for the Jaguar Land Rover business -- and sought to spur demand for the Nano car by repositioning it as a second vehicle. Ralf Speth heads the bigger and more profitable Jaguar Land Rover operations, which Tata Motors bought from Ford Motor Co. in 2008 for more than $2 billion.

Contact information for Sally Slym wasn’t immediately available.

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