Allan Amey, the 59 year-old millionaire chief executive of ailing LDV, has dramatically left the Birmingham-based company less than a month after it was taken over by an American private finance group.
There was no official announcement from the van maker yesterday, but The Birmingham Post understands the news was broken internally on Thursday night that Mr Amey had left.
"They were told he was taking 'early retirement' with immediate effect," a source said.
Less than a month ago Mr Amey was welcoming the #75 million bail-out of LDV by Sun Capital Partners after a cashflow crisis forced the company to stop production of its new Maxus van and send hundreds of workers home.
In a controversial move, LDV was subject to a "pre-packaged administration", a manoeuvre that allowed it to walk away from its liabilities and re-emerge under new ownership within hours.
Suppliers were left out of pocket and the company's closed final salary pension scheme, which latest figures show had a deficit of #22.4 million, may have to be taken over by the new Pension Protection Fund.
The new owner is also looking to shed 230 jobs out of the company's total workforce of about 1,200.
Mr Amey, who is married with three daughters and has a home near Bridgnorth, Shropshire, was paid nearly #400,000 in 1994, the last year for which accounts are available.
He is understood, however, to have received up to about #3 million in share dividends since leading a #40 million management buy-out of the company following the collapse of the Anglo-Dutch Leyland DAF trucks and vans group in 1993.
"If you take his salary, pension contributions and dividends into account he has probably made about #6 million from LDV," an industry insider said last night.
Scots-born Mr Amey joined the motor industry with Ford in Essex and joined the former British Leyland at Longbridge as industrial engineering manager in 1972. He became managing director at the old Leyland Daf Vans business in 1989.
No one was available for comment at LDV yesterday and calls to the company's public relations advisor, London firm Smithfield, went unanswered.