Russia's Avtovaz may poach CEO of truckmaker rival

Reuters

MOSCOW, Oct 17 (Reuters) - The board of Russia's largestcarmaker, Avtovaz, has suggested that the head of busand truck maker Gaz take over from its outgoing chiefexecutive, Avtovaz said on Thursday.

Bo Andersson held a high-level position at General MotorsCo., responsible for the Detroit-based carmaker's globalpurchasing, logistics and supply operations, before joining Gazas chief executive in 2009.

He would replace Avtovaz chief executive Igor Komarov, whohas run the company since 2009. Franco-Japanese allianceRenault-Nissan plans to take control of thecarmaker, maker of the famous Lada cars, in mid-2014.

Avtovaz said in a statement that board members includingchairman Carlos Ghosn, the head of Renault and Nissan Motor,would propose Andersson as a potential candidate for the job atthe next board meeting.

Gaz declined immediate comment.

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

Several sources close to Avtovaz said on Wednesday thatKomarov was leaving to join a division of Russia's space agency,confirming an earlier story in Kommersant newspaper. Komarovdeclined comment.

Oleg Lobanov, the company's vice-president for finance, willbe acting CEO until the board of directors appoints a new head,Avtovaz said on Wednesday. A source close to one of Avtovaz'sshareholders said on Wednesday that the new CEO would likely bea representative of the Renault-Nissan alliance.

Avtovaz this month reported that it swung to a first-halfnet loss as a slowdown in Russia's $2 trillion economy took aheavy toll on demand.

Russian car sales have fallen for six months in a row.

The Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby grouprecently cut its sales forecast for the full year to 2.8 millionvehicles, a fall of 5 percent year-on-year.

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