Luca de Meo is hotly tipped to take over as the new boss of Renault after stepping down from his position as boss of Seat with immediate effect.
The Italian had been head of the Volkswagen Group's Spanish brand since 2015, overseeing a massive period of growth fuelled by an expanding SUV range. He also oversaw the launch of Cupra as a standalone premium performance brand.
In recent weeks, de Meo has been strongly linked to take over as the boss of Renault, and his departure from Seat likely clears the way for that move.
A statement said: "Seat informs that, on his own request and in common agreement with the Volkswagen Group, Luca de Meo is stepping down from his position as president of Seat. Luca de Meo will remain a member of the Group until further notice."
Carsten Isensee, Seat's current vice-president of finance, will take on the role of president "until further notice".
De Meo has worked in the car industry for more than 25 years. He began his career at Renault and spent time with Toyota and the Fiat Group before joining the Volkswagen Group as Volkswagen marketing boss in 2009. He then had a stint at Audi before moving to Seat.
Renault has been searching for a new chief executive after former boss Thierry Bolloré was ousted last October, along with a number of other executives associated with former chairman Carlos Ghosn.
The French manufacturer has been struggling to recover since Ghosn was dismissed after an internal investigation sparked by his arrest in Japan on financial misconduct charges. These related to his role as chairman of Nissan, with which Renault has a close alliance.