As General Motors' global purchasing chief, Bo Andersson reinvented the way GM did business with more than 3,000 global parts suppliers. Now the former Swedish Army colonel is reinventing GAZ, Russia's second-biggest automaker – and winning lots of praise.
In March, Andersson was named Best Market Newcomer at the international Russian Automotive Forum for his achievements in returning the once near-bankrupt company to profit last year, as well as renewing the company's aging product range and establishing international cooperation agreements, including deals to build Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Skoda cars in GAZ's underused Nizhny Novgorod factory.
Sometime soon, Russia is expected to pass Germany as Europe's largest car market, with vehicle sales rising 73 percent to more than 3.3 million in 2015, according to forecasts from Russia's Ministry of Industry.
GAZ will benefit from Russia's exploding growth in new-car sales by being a contract manufacturer, Andersson told Automotive News Europe in a recent interview. "It's not worth it for us to build up a car brand. We have Russia's most effective car plant and will use it to build vehicles for other manufacturers," he said.
Andersson, who became head of GAZ in 2009, began his career with GM in 1987 as a manager with Saab. He rose through the ranks to head purchasing at former subsidiary Saab, then he took over GM Europe purchasing and later led GM's global purchasing. He finished his career with the U.S. automaker as a member of the company's automotive strategy, automotive product and North America strategy boards.