Stellantis said Mike Manley would leave his role as head of Americas to become CEO of AutoNation, America’s largest automotive retailer based in Florida, from 1 November.

He apparently won’t be replaced directly.

Mark Stewart (COO, North America) and Antonio Filosa (COO, Latin America) will now report directly to CEO Carlos Tavares.

The move takes Manley back to his roots. According to Wikipedia, he started in the auto industry as a trainee at car financing company Swan National, worked for Renault and Peugeot dealerships, then on to the Lex Autosales car dealer group.

After Lex was bought by DaimlerChrysler UK, Manley became the automaker’s director of network development and was transferred to the US in 2003. In 2008, he became EVP of planning and sales for Chrysler followed by COO for Asia. In 2009, Manley became Jeep CEO, overseeing a sales rise from 320,000 vehicles in 2009 to 1.23m in 2015. He reportedly had said being appointed the head of Jeep was “the turning point of his career”.

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Tavares said: “It’s been my privilege to know Mike first as a competitor, then as a partner and colleague in the creation of Stellantis, but most importantly, always as a friend. From the very earliest days of our discussions, we shared a truly common vision, belief and commitment and it’s on these solid foundations, built over the past several years, that Stellantis has delivered its impressive early results.”

Manley said: “After 20 incredible, challenging and enjoyable years, and with Stellantis performing so strongly under Carlos’ leadership, the time feels right for me to open a new chapter.”

Elkann said: “I’d like to thank Mike for all that he has done over his 20 years with us. His time at the head of Jeep was transformational for that flagship brand and then as the CEO of FCA he led the company to record results through some of its most challenging moments. Working closely with Carlos, he was instrumental in the creation and successful launch of Stellantis.”