RusAl Shuffles Top Staff

Russian Aluminum is playing musical chairs with the general directors of its main factories.

The heads of two of the metals giant's production arms will be sent abroad to pursue graduate business degrees and be replaced by the directors of other RusAl factories, who in turn will be replaced by other managers from within the holding company, according to company sources.

A delegation of managers headed by RusAl deputy general director Alexander Bulygin was dispatched Monday on a tour of the factories involved to inform workers of the changes, introduce them to their new bosses and explain the reasons for the changes.

Changes will affect RusAl's key aluminum factories -- Bratsk (BrAZ), Krasnoyarsk (KrAZ), Novokuznetsk (NkAZ) and Sayansk (SaAZ), as well as the Achinsk alumina plant (AGK).

Alexei Brantsev, general director of BrAZ, and Viktor Geintse, general director of KrAZ, are to leave their posts to earn MBA degrees abroad. KrAZ will then be headed by the current general director of AGK, Ilya Akhmetov. Brantsev will be replaced by current RusAl production director Vladimir Berstenev, whose post will be filled by current NkAZ director Valery Matvienko, who will be replaced by current SaAZ director Viktor Zhirnakov. Positions left open by the directors of AGK and SaAZ will be filled by their deputies.

The last time the heads of these companies were so radically changed was in 2000, when they came under the control of Russian Aluminum.

This time, however, RusAl managers are being switched around to improve their efficiency, the company says.

"When a person works at the same place for a long time, he becomes ingrown in the business and develops special relationships with his business partners," said an employee of one of RusAl's factories.

"These relationships are unnecessary. In a new position, a person is always more active."