Report – AvtoVAZ CEO to step down image

Igor Komarov is rumored to be stepping down as the chief of Russia’s largest automaker, which Renault-Nissan plans to take full control of by mid-2014.

Someone familiar with an AvtoVAZ shareholder reported the next CEO would likely be someone coming from the Renault-Nissan alliance, while Oleg Lobanov, the company’s vice-president for finance, will be the acting CEO until the change goes through.

Komarov declined comment on the matter but more sources close to AvtoVAZ added he was leaving to join a division of the country’s space agency Roskosmos, which corroborates an earlier story published in the Russian Kommersant newspaper.

Komarov has been leading AvtoVAZ, which makes and sells Lada cars, since 2009 and is credited with bringing AvtoVAZ back from almost total collapse. AvtoVAZ reported earlier this month though it returned to a first-half net loss as the country’s economic slowdown took a heavy toll on demand.

Deliveries of Lada models went down 14% to 343,368 in the first nine months, according to the Moscow-based Association of European Businesses lobby group. The brand’s market share also slipped to 16.8% from 18.2%.

Russian car sales have also fallen for six straight months as the $2 trillion economy has started to show signs of weakness. The Association of European Businesses recently lowered its sales prediction for the full year to 2.8 million vehicles, down 5% year on year.

Via Automotive News Europe