SEAT president Luca de Meo has stepped down as rumours swirl about an imminent switch to Renault.
The Italian had been in charge of the Spanish car-maker since 2015, overseeing a period of immense growth for the brand, which posted record sales in 2018.
In recent weeks, he has been strongly linked with a move to French firm Renault, which has been without a permanent chief executive since Carlos Ghosn left in January 2019 following his arrest for allegedly misusing company assets in his role as chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
In a statement, Seat said: ‘On his own request and in common agreement with the Volkswagen Group, Luca de Meo is stepping down from his position as president of Seat.’
It added that he would remain a member of the group until further notice and said Carsten Isensee, Seat’s vice-president for finance, would assume the presidency for now while continuing with his other responsibilities.
Milan-born de Meo has been in the car industry for more than 25 years, starting his career at Renault before stints at Toyota Europe and Fiat. He moved to the Volkswagen Group in 2009 where he held roles at Volkswagen and Audi before moving to Seat.