The worst results in the company's history represent a serious setback to its European turnaround plan. Last year, the world's second largest carmaker recorded a loss of $18m (£12.28m).
David Thursfield, president of international operations will now look after Leach's responsibilities until a replacement is found. “Martin contributed to our growth in Europe under challenging conditions. We will build on those foundations,” says Thursfield.
Leach's decision to go follows weeks of speculation that Ford was considering appointing a combined head of PAG and Europe that would sit above his current position.
A Ford spokesman says: “Martin Leach has elected to leave Ford and look for new opportunities, but I don't know what they are.”
Industry rumours are growing that Leach will now take the helm at troubled Italian carmaker Fiat, replacing Giancarlo Boschetti.
As a former vice-president of product development, Leach was instrumental in bringing the Focus C-Max, Sport and StreetKa, Fiesta and new-look Mondeo to UK roads. And while the GT project was US-led, his enthusiasm made sure it would come to Europe. Leach took a hands-on role that saw him place driving dynamics at the top of the list for all newblue oval cars.