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Sources: Rolls CEO left job freely

CREWE, England - The decision last week by Tony Gott, CEO of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars Ltd., to step down after three years in his job and 17 years at the company was not forced by parent Volkswagen AG, say several colleagues and acquaintances.

"He has left to do something different. I have no idea what that is, but there were no rows, no pushing and no bad blood," said one acquaintance.

But under a previous agreement, VW will lose the Rolls-Royce brand to BMW AG on Dec. 31 while retaining Bentley.

This has led to speculation that Gott, 45, has signed on with BMW and will assume the top job at Rolls-Royce next year.

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