Mr Diaz-Ruiz had a corresponding role at Toyota Europe, which he left on June 30. The suddenness of his departure surprised colleagues who were told only a few days earlier. At the time, a Toyota Motor Europe spokesman said Mr Diaz-Ruiz, 56, had returned to his native Spain “for personal reasons, to take time off and find a new direction for his life”. He had apparently left Toyota “on excellent terms”.
The Spaniard, who takes up his Fiat job on September 1, joined Toyota from Audi in early 1998. He also worked for Seat and Ford.