AvtoVAZ Boss Quits Ahead of Space Industry Job

MOSCOW, October 17 (RIA Novosti) – Igor Komarov, head of Russia’s largest car maker Avtovaz, has submitted his resignation ahead of a likely appointment as chief of a new state-run space corporation currently being formed by the Russian government.

“The resignation letter will be discussed soon by the company’s board of directors,” AvtoVAZ spokesman, Igor Burenkov, said Wednesday, but declined to comment on the nature of Komarov’s future job.

Russia’s respected Kommersant business daily earlier reported that the presidential administration and the government had approved Komarov as the head of the United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC), which will be created to take over manufacturing facilities from the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), whose prestige has been severely dented in recent years by a string of failed rocket launches.

Kommersant cited a government source as saying that Rostec Chairman Sergei Chemezov lobbied for Komarov’s candidacy praising his managerial skills and his key role in revamping production at ailing AvtoVAZ.

Komarov has run AvtoVAZ, which makes the famous Lada cars, since 2009. His contract with the company expires in November.

The Russian government is set to radically centralize its space industry in a bid to combat major inefficiencies and cut down on the misuse of funds under plans unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The new corporation will introduce a unified technical policy and save financial resources by consolidating developers and manufacturers of spacecraft.

As part of a major reshuffle of the country’s troubled space industry, the Russian government has already replaced Vladimir Popovkin, who headed Roscosmos since April 2011, with former Deputy Defense Minister Oleg Ostapenko.


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