(Adds background on Jackson)
Sept 19 (Reuters) - AutoNation Inc's longtime Chief Executive Officer Mike Jackson will step down from the role next year but remain executive chairman until 2021, the largest U.S. auto retail chain said on Wednesday.
AutoNation's stock has more than tripled since Jackson became CEO in 1999 after the company's founder H. Wayne Huizenga hired him from Mercedes-Benz USA, where Jackson was president.
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-headquartered retailer has retained its No.1 position in the United States under Jackson's leadership.
His departure as CEO comes as U.S. automotive sales are cooling down after a solid run for several years following the 2008 financial crisis.
AutoNation said executive search firm Spencer Stuart would support its CEO succession process. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)