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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

KamAZ's Director Throws in the Towel

Ivan Kostin has resigned from his post as general director of the KamAZ truck maker, and Tatarstan's economics and industry minister will take his place, officials said Tuesday.

KamAZ has asked Sergei Kogogin to become general director and he has agreed, said an official in the Tatar economics ministry, who declined to be identified.

Kogogin's appointment is expected to be approved by KamAZ's board at a meeting Friday, he said.

"I was offered work at another enterprise, and that became the main factor in my decision to leave," Kostin was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Kostin's contract ended at the end of January, but he had continued to act as general director.

The federal Property Ministry has a 34 percent stake in KamAZ, while Tartarstan's Property Ministry holds another 11 percent.

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and Vneshtorgbank received 7 percent and 19 percent stakes in the company, respectively, in a series of debt-for-share swaps beginning in 1998. Sberbank and MFK Bank have stakes of under 4 percent.

Analysts say the banks are not interested in the auto sector and are investing in KamAZ to build up its market capitalization before selling their stakes.

The reasons behind the management change remain unclear.

"On the one hand, replacing a veteran KamAZ man like Kostin shows that the company is changing its strategy," said Andrei Kormilitsin, an analyst with Troika Dialog. "One would hope that this was the initiative of the commercial bank shareholders who want to focus on growth in market capitalization.

"But on the other hand, the likely candidate for the post doesn't seem like the right man for the job because he is a government worker, which shows that the government wants to see its influence in the company grow," he said.

Kostin stands to be the fourth general director in the auto industry to lose his job in a year.

The Ulyanovsk Auto Plant, or UAZ, saw a major management change when it was bought up by Alexei Mordashov's Severstal metals holding. Pavel Lezhankin was replaced as UAZ general director by Eduard Shpakovsky.

Gorky Auto Plant, or GAZ, also saw a management reshuffle when Oleg Deripaska's Siberian Aluminum bought up the factory. Viktor Belyayev was replaced as GAZ general director by Dmitry Strezhnev.

Russia's largest automaker Avtovaz replaced general director Alexei Nikolayev with Vitaly Vilchik in January in an effort to implement corporate reforms.