Sir Nigel Rudd has announced his intention to retire as chairman of Pendragon, the UK's largest franchised dealer group.
Rudd plans to step down from the board later this year, he told shareholders at today's Pendragon annual general meeting.
The search for a new chairman has already begun, said the group.
He was appointed chairman more than 20 years ago after Pendragon's demerger from Williams Holdings.
Rudd said: "I have been considering my retirement from the board for some time, but the financial turmoil and difficult trading conditions of the last two years had deemed it inappropriate to leave the company.
"The trading position of the company has now improved to such an extent that I feel it is now appropriate for me to stand down from the board of Pendragon later this year.
"Steps are under way to find my successor as chairman. I anticipate that this process will be concluded later in the year, at which point I will step down and a further announcement will be made."