The shock announcement comes while Peugeot in the UK is enjoying the most successful spell in its history with sales - both fleet and retail - at record levels, production at its Ryton plant at an all-time high and profitability at an eight-year high.
Earlier this year, the Coventry-based manufacturer revealed 1998 pre-tax profits of £52.9million (1997: £52.5million) on turn-over of £2.39billion (1997: £2.34billion) following record sales last year which saw 181,564 cars sold, of which a record 99,010 going to fleets.
Parham was unavailable for comment following his decision to quit the company to 'pursue other activities' after 31 years, including 20 years as a main board director and the last five as managing director. A statement from the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group recorded 'its sincere thanks' to Parham 'for the major contribution' he had made to the company's success. Industry sources suggest that Parham's departure is part of ongoing changes within the PSA Group instigated by chairman Jean-Martin Foltz and announced last year.