The company behind Auto Trader was yesterday rocked by the surprise departure of chief executive John King.
Mr King, an Australian who has been at the helm since 2007, said: "The business needs a leader to commit long-term to the next stage of the firm's development." He has successfully pushed Auto Trader into digital but profits recently dipped, and the firm warned of a "recessionary effect in used-car markets".
Chief financial officer Zillah Byng-Maddick takes over on an interim basis at Trader Media Group, owned by Guardian Media Group and Apax.
GMG and Apax looked at a possible £2 billion flotation last year. In a separate move, The Guardian's most senior commercial executive, Adam Freeman, resigned today to join an internet start-up.