Sky News has learnt that Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, who set up Euro Car Parts (ECP) more than three decades ago with a £5,000 investment, has resigned in the last few days.
Mr Ahluwalia is expected to step down from the board of LKQ Corporation, the Nasdaq-listed company which bought ECP for £280m in 2011.
Sources said the British subsidiary’s management team – including chief executive Martin Gray and chief operating officer Steve Horne – had decided to follow Mr Ahluwalia out of the door.
The company’s head of trading is also said to have resigned.
ECP executives are understood to have locked horns with their counterparts at LKQ over what one insider described as a “swingeing cost-cutting programme”.
Aimed at saving millions of pounds annually, the cost-saving drive comes after a 40% fall in LKQ’s share price in the last 12 months.
One source said on Thursday that LKQ was expected to axe hundreds of jobs in the UK during the coming months.
ECP employs about 12,000 people in Britain, making it one of the country’s biggest employers in the automotive sector.
Mr Singh Ahluwalia, who did not comment, is understood to be planning to focus on interests he has in the hospitality industry following his resignation from ECP and LKQ.
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Born in Uganda, ECP’s founder turned his initial investment in a motor parts shop in Willesden, north London, into a nationwide chain.
LKQ did not respond to a request for comment.