Bernd Pischetsrieder, the boss of the Volkswagen Group, has been ousted from the top job only months after his contract had been extended to 2012.
Martin Winterkorn, currently the ambitious boss of the Audi division, will replace Pischetsrieder as chief executive officer.
The surprise announcement came late on 7 November, revealing that 58-year-old Pischetsrieder will step down on 31 December.
He had been involved this year in the tricky task of slashing tens of thousands of jobs, as well as negotiating with trade unions to extend the working week, which, for some workers, had dipped below the 30-hour mark.
There had been rumours earlier in the year of a fall-out between Pischetsrieder and Ferdinand Piech, his predecessor and now chairman of the VW supervisory board.
Ironically, VW share price has soared this year on the back of confidence about his re-structuring plans.
Piech had also played a part in his family company Porsche buying a significant share in Volkswagen.