Chris Hayden has returned from the US to run Group 1 Automotive's UK operations.
He left Ford Retail, which he ran after establishing more than 10 years ago, in 2011 to become Group 1's market director in California.
Hayden said of his new role as CEO: "This is another exciting role. We operate 20 dealerships in the UK and currently represent BMW, Audi, Mini and Ford.
"My role will involve running the day to day business as well as growing and integrating new businesses into Group 1 UK."
And of his time in the States: "Los Angeles is probably the most competitive car market in the world and after 30 years of successful car retailing in the UK and Europe, I was delighted to be given an opportunity to experience this first hand."