Kevin Gaskell, managing director of BMW in the UK, is to quit the car manufacturer and is understood to be joining an Internet company.
Gaskell, who steps down at the end of next month, has been at the German car company for just over three years.
Before joining BMW, Gaskell held several positions at Porsche, including managing director and head of sales and marketing.
A BMW spokesman issued a statement from Gaskell, which says: “I have chosen to leave to pursue my own ambitions in a different field, and will announce more details in February.”
BMW said it did not yet have a replacement.
His departure comes at a difficult time for BMW. Although the UK division has managed to dissociate itself from the beleaguered Rover brand, the BMW group has been mooted as a takeover target for Ford or General Motors.
However, BMW’s share of sales in the UK rose by ten per cent in 1999, says The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.