• Apr 21st 2008 at 7:57AM
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Geoff Polites, who's stewardship of Land Rover and Jaguar improved the health of both properties, has succumbed after a long illness. Polites led Jaguar and Land Rover back to collective profitability, and kept a steady hand on the helm during the upheaval surrounding the sale to Tata a month ago. While rumors swirled and pundits punned, it was Polites leadership that kept Jaguar and Land Rover on an even keel, with heads down and concentrating, instead of freaking out. Polites spent 40 years in the automotive business, and rose to CEO at Jaguar Land Rover in 2005. Both brands have strong, stylish product portfolios with name cachet, and David Smith, CFO of Jaguar Land Rover will step in as acting CEO for now. Press release after the jump.

[Source: Ford]


DEARBORN, Mich., April 20, 2008 – Geoff Polites, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, has died peacefully in his home country of Australia. He was 60.

Mr. Polites, who is credited with leading the team that returned the Jaguar Land Rover business back to profitability and successfully steering it through its ongoing sale process to Tata Motors, had been battling serious illness for the past two years.

"Geoff's untimely passing robs his family and friends of a man who was a real inspiration to us all," said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company. "His drive and determination, combined with his clear sense of vision for the business, played a huge role in turning round the business at Jaguar Land Rover and returning it to profitability. Geoff ensured that Jaguar Land Rover was not distracted and continued to focus on the fundamentals of the business during the recent sale process, despite at the time also fighting his own personal health battle.

"He was a trusted colleague and someone who was much respected not just by his peers but by all who had the privilege to work with him. Our sympathies are with his wife and family at this difficult time," said Mulally.

Lewis Booth, executive vice president responsible for Ford Motor Company's businesses in Europe, said: "For many of us at Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, we've lost not just a respected colleague but a great friend.

"Geoff was always someone to look up to throughout his almost 40-year career in the automotive industry. His passion for the car business was legend, but the resolve he showed since taking over as CEO of Jaguar Land Rover in 2005 was something very special.

"His leadership of the team that has put the Jaguar Land Rover business back into profitability has been exceptional. Geoff has given Jaguar Land Rover the solid foundation and established the strong management team it needs for a successful future. We will miss our friend very much."

David Smith, Jaguar Land Rover's chief financial officer, will take over as the acting chief executive officer at Jaguar Land Rover until a successor is appointed.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Thanks for the compliment buddy! I hope you have a nice day in your little monk's cubicle! Remember to pray for four hours before you go to sleep tonight...
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know, i go often without leaving comments on autoblog, and check for new posts close to 3 times a day for nearly two years. But seriously gargamello- really not an appropriate comment. The rudest comment i have ever read, you don't speak ill of the dead no matter what your opinion. Jaguar and Land Rover haven't been the blushing success that is entitled to them. Either way, the man did his job, was dedicated and should be remembered for it. Not cursed by some socially inept invalid as yourself. Have some compassion you sodding git.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If it wasn't for Polites, Ford Australia would not be here today...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well first of all I can't understand half of what you said there because it's not correct English.

      And secondly grow a sense of humor you uptight priggish wanker. You're the one who's devoid of social graces - in the words of the great English writer Oscar Wilde, a man with more flair than you'll ever possess:

      "A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal."
      • 7 Years Ago
      He did a heck of a lot for Ford Australia and is remembered fondly as the best President Ford Australia ever had. If he had continued in that post I have no doubt the last few years would have been more successful for them. Anyone in that posting now walks in his shadow.

      He also did a fantastic job with his stewardship of Jaguar and Land Rover.

      Condolences to his family and friends.

      • 7 Years Ago
      @ Gargamello,
      Since when has the XF been an 'ugly' car? I thought it was doing pretty well with over 10,000 pre-orders and all the good reviews from various sites.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't even understand why you tools are defending this man so fervently. Logically any member of Jaguar management of the past twenty years has some serious explaining to do for running the company so badly. Can you honestly say that Jaguar has been run well? Really? Wasn't it bought and sold multiple times after years of losing money? I don't understand how you could defend such clear financial failure, unless you are middle management peons desperately clinging to some fading tatters of self worth. If that's so, get over it. It was not a well run company, and still isn't.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ok this is why I stopped reading Autoblog and responding to comments here. Because it's just a huge waste of time. Obviously I was trying to be humorous and didn't mean any specific harm. But I'm going to stop posting here and reading this blog because it's just not worth it, if the quality of the responses here is going to be so low, so torpid and hebetudinous.

        So I apologize if I offended your delicate sensibilities, have a good day sipping your weak Earl Grey tea and quietly philosphizing about the long gone good old days of merry old Victorian England or whatever the heck it is you do with yourself.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Geoff was only at the helm of Jaguar Land rover for a couple of years. It takes time to turn a company around and the first steps towards that have been taken with the XF. Regardless of your opinion of the car, there is a huge increase in customers ready to put down deposits for an XF and that speaks volumes about it's appeal.
        He will be remembered for many achievements in the Automotive field not least of which being his time at Ford Australia. All those Hi performance Aussie Fords everyone keeps drooling over, Polites had a hand in them.
        Bottom line, this is a post about Geoff Polites and a chance for us to pay our respects to a great man who had a positive effect on the automotive industry. Your comments are highly inappropriate and I suggest you show some respect and keep your worthless opinions to yourself from now on.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oscar Wilde was Irish. Geoff Polites seemed like a good bloke. A champion in life.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sad day for the Australian Motoring Industry

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