Ex-GM purchasing boss Andersson touted for CEO post at AvtoVAZ

Andersson has been credited with turning around GAZ.
UPDATED: 10/17/13 1:22 pm ET - adds details

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- The board of Russia's largest carmaker, AvtoVAZ, has suggested that Bo Andersson, head of the bus and truck maker GAZ Group, may take over for its outgoing CEO.

Andersson was head of General Motors' global purchasing, logistics and supply operations before joining GAZ as CEO in 2009.

He would replace AvtoVAZ CEO Igor Komarov, who has run the company since 2009.

Renault-Nissan plans to take control of AvtoVAZ, which builds Lada cars, in mid-2014.

AvtoVAZ said in a statement that board members including chairman Carlos Ghosn, the head of Renault and Nissan, would propose Andersson as a potential candidate for the job at the next board meeting.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, called the board's move a "nomination" and "it is virtually certain to be ratified at the company's next board meeting in early November."

Andersson declined to comment to Automotive News Europe. He told the Journal through a spokesman that it was "premature" to talk ahead of the board meeting.

GAZ declined immediate comment.

Andersson, of Swedish origin, has been credited with turning around GAZ, with a cost-cutting drive which increased profits. GAZ is part of tycoon Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element group.

Acting CEO

Oleg Lobanov, the company's vice-president for finance, will be acting CEO until the board appoints a new head, AvtoVAZ said on Wednesday.

Several sources close to AvtovVAZ said Komarov was leaving to join a division of Russia's space agency. Komarov declined comment.

Komarov was named one of the 2013 Automotive News Europe Eurostars after reviving AvtoVAZ from the the brink of collapse.

AvtoVAZ reported earlier this month that it swung to a first-half net loss as the country's economic slowdown took a heavy toll on demand.

Sales of Lada cars in Russia fell 14 percent to 343,368 in the first nine months, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses lobby group. The brand's market share dropped to 16.8 percent from 18.2 percent.

Russian car sales have fallen for six months in a row as the $2 trillion economy has faltered. The Association of European Businesses recently cut its sales forecast for the full year to 2.8 million vehicles, a fall of 5 percent year on year.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report



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