Ford Motor Co. has reached a settlement with its former European president, who sued the company after it tried to prevent him from working for another automaker, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

An lawyer for Martin Leach confirmed the settlement to AP but neither he nor Ford would disclose the amount of the settlement - Leach was seeking $US40 million in damages.

"Martin made significant contributions during his nearly 28-year career with Ford and the company appreciates his contributions during that time and we wish him well," Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said in a statement cited by the Associated Press.

The news agency noted that Leach left Ford in August 2003 after he was offered a job at Fiat SpA. Leach reportedly said he was fired from Ford after telling his bosses about the Fiat offer, so Ford's non-compete clause in his contract didn't apply but Ford said Leach resigned and it tried to invoke the clause, which prohibits employees from working for another automaker within two years of leaving Ford.

AP said that Leach sued and won a court order barring Ford from enforcing the clause but continued to seek monetary damages.

Leach eventually became chief executive of the Maserati brand, but Fiat announced in February that he was leaving his post with the company, the Associated Press added.