Russia Says GM Purchasing Exec To Head GAZ

Senior GM executive who abruptly stepped down from the U.S. automaker last week has agreed to head the board of Russian automobile company GAZ, officials said.

MOSCOW (AP) -- A senior General Motors Corp. executive who abruptly stepped down from the U.S. automaker last week has agreed to head the board of Russian automobile company GAZ, Russian officials said Monday.

Bo Andersson, group vice president of global purchasing, was responsible for maintaining the flow of parts to GM plants through the company's financial difficulties.

The struggling U.S. automaker gave no reasons for Andersson's departure, which was announced Friday.

On Monday, GAZ announced Andersson had agreed to head the company's board of directors. A spokeswoman said his nomination would be considered at the board meeting following the next scheduled one, on June 27.

No further details were released.

GAZ, which once turned out the sober black sedans favored by Soviet bureaucrats, is a sprawling industrial giant that is now in a battered financial state with nearly $1.4 billion in debts.

It is also positioned to emerge as a key beneficiary in the takeover of General Motors' Opel subsidiary by Canada's Magna International and the Russian government-owned bank, Sberbank.

While at GM, Andersson had extensive dealings with Magna, which is one of GM's largest parts suppliers.

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