Russia names former transport minister CEO after Avtovaz Renault’s departure

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Russia’s top carmaker AvtoVAZ said on Monday it had appointed former transport minister Maxim Sokolov as its new president and CEO after its main shareholder Renault withdrew from the Russian market.

Renault has struck a deal with a Russian science institute to sell its majority stake in Avtovaz, saying it had a six-year option to buy it back for a symbolic sum of just one ruble.

Sokolov, who served as Russia’s transport minister from 2012-2018, replaces Nicholas Maur, who took office in May 2021. The board’s decision to appoint Sokolov took effect on Monday.

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“The most important goal for us is the rapid development of a supplier base, first and foremost all domestic suppliers,” Sokolov said in a statement.

AvtoVAZ’s Lada car sales fell 78% in April, and carmakers stopped production until May 27 due to a shortage of parts and weak demand.

More than 400 companies have withdrawn from Russia since sending thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, leaving billions of dollars in assets.

Russia has called its move a “special operation” to reduce the military capabilities of its southern neighbor and to eliminate what it calls “dangerous nationalists.”

The West has imposed extensive sanctions on Russia and responded by providing military assistance to Ukraine. (Reuters report edited by Mark Potter)

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