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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CFO Eggers Leaves Deripaska Auto Firm

MTEggers speaking in an interview after his appointment at GAZ in April 2006.
David Eggers, chief financial officer at Oleg Deripaska's GAZ Group, has resigned, the company said.

GAZ said in a statement Thursday that Eggers, the most senior financial executive in the Russian automotive industry, was leaving for personal reasons after less than a year with the country's second-largest automaker.

The company praised Eggers' work, quoting Erik Eberhardson, head of the GAZ Group, as saying he had done a lot to raise GAZ finances to international standards, among other things.

A source familiar with the situation said the U.S. executive's "mentality" had also played a role in his departure.

Eggers could not be immediately reached for comment.

Chosen from among several candidates, Eggers was headhunted by GAZ last March from Ford, where he had worked since 1995.

Vyacheslav Shmatov, deputy managing director of GAZ's Nizhny Novgorod based plant, the maker of the Soviet-era Volga sedans, has been appointed the new CFO, the statement said.

Eggers needed to go back to the United States for a few months for personal reasons and the management decided against trying to keep him, said the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.

The source said Eggers was probably not well suited to work in Russia. "Russian business is not civilized yet," the source said. "He never had to deal with Russian business."

The stint at GAZ was Eggers' first job for a Russian company, although he had previous experience in Russia as part of the start-up team at Ford's plant near St. Petersburg.

Eggers said in an interview last year that he planned to stay with GAZ for five to 10 years.

Eggers' hiring reflected a modernization drive at GAZ, which became the first Russian automaker to install senior foreign executives.

Besides Eberhardson, head of the GAZ Group and a former head of Volvo Construction Equipment in Russia, other foreign executives hired by the group include Martin Leach, a former Ford Europe president and Steve Young, a former A.T. Kearney executive. Leach and Young were appointed to run British van maker LDV, which GAZ bought last year. Putting together that deal was one of Eggers' first tasks at GAZ.

It was not immediately clear whether Shmatov's appointment was permanent. The source said he did not exclude that the automaker would find a foreigner for the post, but one with more experience in Russia.

Kirill Chuiko, an auto industry analyst with UralSib, said personal reasons could not be ruled out for Eggers' departure.

He added that GAZ was not a "simple asset," adding that perhaps Eggers' vision for GAZ might have differed from that of other executives'.