The American owner of LDV was last night maintaining the wall of silence surrounding the sudden departure late last week of chief executive Allan Amey.

Up until last night Sun Capital Partners, which bought the Birmingham vanmaker in a £75 million deal last month, had not even confirmed that 59 year-old Mr Amey, one of the city's best known businessmen, had left the business.

The Birmingham Post reported on Saturday that Mr Amey had parted company with LDV on "early retirement" grounds less than a month after the deal with Sun.

The American group bought the company only hours after it went into administration in the wake of a cashflow crisis sparked by higher costs incurred in manufacturing its new Maxus van.

Mr Amey, who had headed LDV since 1989 and who led the £40 million management buy-out from the receivers of former owner Leyland DAF in 1993, was the company's single biggest private shareholder and is believed to have been paid in the order of £3 million in dividends in the past 13 years.

Industry insiders estimate that the Scot made about £6 million from the business after taking his salary and pension contributions into account.

A newly-appointed non-executive director from America is understood to be running the business on a temporary basis.