In a farewell email written on his last day, Bo Andersson, the departing CEO of Lada maker AvtoVAZ, said he was “proud” of what he and staff achieved at the troubled Russian company during his short tenure.
The Swede was the first non-Russian to lead the country's largest automaker but faced an almost constant battle to reform the partly state-owned company in his two years as head.
He started the email by saying he wouldn't be talking about the “reasons why I decided to step down as CEO” but said his time there “strengthened my belief in dealing with data and not opinions.”
He dealt with many strong opinions there. His efforts to improve quality and cut costs at the company majority-owned by alliance partners Renault and Nissan were fiercely opposed by those who were happy with the automaker's old ways of doing business.
His battle with suppliers was reportedly a big reason why Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn encouraged Andersson to step down. He also faced rebellions after cutting about 20,000 workers at AvtoVAZ's vast Togliatti plant.
In the email, Andersson listed among his achievements the launch of 14 models, including six for Lada and eight for the alliance.
“We, and with us the whole of Russia, have become once again proud of our national cars,” he wrote. He singled out the all-new Vesta launched earlier this year, saying production had passed 16,000.
Andersson, a former purchasing chief at General Motors, was hired to lead AvtoVAZ after returning Russian light commercial vehicle maker GAZ to profit by updating model lines, cutting jobs and raising the standards for supplied parts.
He ended his email by saying: “Russia has been my home for seven years and Togliatti for the last two. I enjoyed this experience. But now the time has come for me to leave. Lada will always stay in my heart.”
He didn't say where he was heading next.
Andersson has been replaced by the former head of Renault's Dacia brand, Nicolas Maure.