Ex-Ford executive to be chairman of Russian-owned vanmaker LDV

Former Ford of Europe president Martin Leach has joined troubled commercial vehicle company LDV as chairman, following its acquisition by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Deripaska, who is reported to be Russia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 38, owns 80% of Gaz Group, which paid &£50m to acquire LDV from private equity group Sun European Partners earlier this week.

Leach, who is also a former chief executive of Maserati, joins LDV along with Steve Young, who has been appointed chief executive. Young has previously held roles at Ford and British Leyland.

Deripaska has pledged to keep the company’s Washwood Heath factory in Birmingham and its 850 workforce.

Gaz, the commercial vehicle division of Deripaska’s holding company Basic Element, is the world’s seventh-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, with an annual output of 180,000 trucks. It has pledged to increase struggling LDV’s production levels and return it to break-even within 12 months.

Leach says: “Gaz is a company with great potential, and is very well placed to become a major global player. The resources are in place to make further acquisitions and attract high-calibre people.”

LDV was put into administration last December by its previous private equity owners EAC and 3i. At the time, it was losing &£4m a month, although losses are thought to have come down after Sun European took control.

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