Editor's note: Update corrects date of the Giugiaro and Italdesign Giugiaro statements.
TURIN -- Legendary car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro has left the styling and engineering company he built, and which still bears his name.
The move comes roughly five years after Giugiaro, 76, sold a 90.1 percent stake in Italdesign Giugiaro SpA to Volkswagen Group's Audi, retaining 9.9 percent for himself and his son, Fabrizio, 50. That remaining stake was sold to Audi on Sunday, June 28.
Giugiaro, whose work includes the original Volkswagen Golf and first Fiat Panda, announced today in an emailed statement that he and Fabrizio resigned from the Italdesign Giugiaro board on Monday. Giorgetto Giugiaro also relinquished his position of honorary chairman, the statement added.
Italdesign Giugiaro issued a statement saying Giorgetto Giugiaro leaves "to dedicate more time to his personal interests" adding that the change "won't influence" the development of the company, which is on a "growth path." The statement said that by year-end the company will have hired 250 additional employees since the 2010 takeover.
When contacted by phone for further comment, Giorgetto Giugiaro said he had nothing to add.
In 2001, he was one of 13 charter inductees in the European Automotive Hall of Fame in Geneva.
Giorgetto Giugiaro's car design career started at Fiat when he was 17 years old. He worked at Turin-based coachbuilders Bertone and Ghia before starting his own company in 1968.
What set Italdesign Giugiaro apart from rivals was that it provided design, engineering, prototyping and testing services to carmakers but it left the manufacturing to the customer.
During his nearly 60 years as a professional designer Giorgetto Giugiaro has penned about 100 production cars, including the first-generations of the Golf, Panda, Fiat Punto and Audi 80. He also was responsible for the looks of seminal sport cars such as the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT and Brera, De Tomaso Mangusta, Lotus Esprit, Maserati Ghibli and Bora.
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