Russia's Lada maker appoints former GM exec as chief

MOSCOW Tue Nov 5, 2013 3:27am EST

MOSCOW Nov 5 (Reuters) - Russia's largest carmaker Avtovaz has appointed former General Motors Co. executive Bo Andersson as its first foreign boss.

Franco-Japanese alliance Renault-Nissan plans to take control of Avtovaz, maker of Lada cars, in mid-2014.

Avtovaz said on Tuesday that Andersson, of Swedish origin, would take over at the helm at the end of the year.

Andersson held a high-level position at General Motors, responsible for the Detroit-based carmaker's global purchasing, logistics and supply operations, before joining bus and truck maker Gaz as chief executive in 2009.

He has been credited with turning around Gaz, with a cost-cutting drive which increased profits. Gaz, part of tycoon Oleg Deripaska's Basic Element group, declined immediate comment.

Andersson replaces Avtovaz chief executive Igor Komarov, who has run the company since 2009. Komarov is leaving to join Russia's space agency.

Avtovaz chairman Carlos Ghosn, who is the head of Renault and Nissan Motor, said in a statement that Renault-Nissan's investment in Russia would contribute significantly to the alliance's global growth.

Avtovaz in October reported it swung to a first-half net loss as a slowdown in Russia's $2 trillion economy took a heavy toll on demand.

Russian car sales have fallen for seven months in a row. The Association of European Businesses (AEB) lobby group recently cut its sales forecast for the full year to 2.8 million vehicles, a fall of 5 percent year-on-year.