Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover
Innovation is second nature to Dr. Ralf Speth. Appointed CEO of Jaguar Land Rover in 2010, he has overseen a remarkable turnaround of the business, with increased sales, over 8,000 jobs created and high profile launches, including the new XJ and brand-defining F-TYPE.
A self-confessed car lover, Dr. Speth drives a Jaguar XFR and owns a classic E-Type. And much of this success is down to his insistence on a design focus in every aspect of the company’s approach—not just in the cars themselves, but in the way the whole organization works.
“I’m talking about how we design all our processes, how we design the research and manufacturing, how we design the training, the recruitment plans, the personal skills. And how we design our relationships with retailers and ultimately with our customers.”
He sees this as the key to success—creating value and innovation to generate the right economic return to justify further investment in innovation—the perfect virtuous circle.
"We are becoming more international, developing more products, investing in lots of different technologies in lots of different areas."
Following a degree in Economics Engineering from Rosenheim University, Germany, Dr. Speth worked as a business consultant for a number of years before joining BMW in 1980. After 20 years, he moved to Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group as Director of Production, Quality and Product Planning. His last job at BMW was VP of Land Rover when BMW owned the brand.
He then became Director of Production, Quality and Planning for Ford's Premier Automotive Group (PAG) when BMW sold Land Rover to Ford in 2000. Most recently, he headed global operations at German industrial gases and engineering company Linde Group, before moving to Jaguar Land Rover.
“This is a pivotal moment in time for Jaguar Land Rover,” says Dr. Speth. “This is not an outdated industry; cars are an advanced technology for the future." Relocating the 170-strong advanced research team to Warwick University, he is behind plans to spend more than $150 million on collaborative research over the next few years. He also keeps a close eye on opportunities to spin off technologies developed for Jaguar Land Rover, such as the micro gas turbine developed by Bladon Jets for the Jaguar C-X75.
Innovation in design, engineering and technology is at the core of our business.”Dr. Ralf Speth - CEO, Jaguar Land Rover