Mike Manley, the Fiat Chrysler chief who guided the Italian-American automaker's merger with PSA to form Stellantis, is stepping away, the company announced on Tuesday.

Manley, who had replaced Sergio Marchionne at the helm of Fiat Chrysler following his abrupt departure, will take over as head of major US car dealership network AutoNation in November, according to the statement.

Manley most recently served as Stellantis' Americas director following its formation in January.

"I was fortunate to know Mike first as a competitor, then as a partner and colleague in the creation of Stellantis, but most importantly, always as a friend," Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said.

Manley said that "After 20 incredible, challenging and enjoyable years, and with Stellantis off to such a strong start under Carlos' leadership, it is time for me to open a new chapter."

Mike Manley will step away from Stellantis and move to AutoNation
Mike Manley will step away from Stellantis and move to AutoNation GETTY / BILL PUGLIANO

Manley arrived at the head of Jeep in 2009 as the US auto sector weathered the storm brought on by the global financial crisis.

The discreet Briton managed to revive the legendary American brand before taking over the management of Ram, which produces large pickups, in 2015.

The companies were part of the Chrysler Group, which officially merged with Fiat in 2014.

Following the tie-up, Manley established himself as one of the executives closest to Marchionne, and succeeded him when he had to leave his post for health reasons in July 2018 and passed away just days later.

At AutoNation, he will replace Mike Jackson, who is retiring after leading the company for 22 years.