Following the news that UK van maker LDV has been purchased by Russian vehicle maker GAZ (click here), it has emerged that Martin Leach and Steve Young will head the UK management team.

Martin Leach has been appointed chairman of LDV and Steve Young will be the new unit's CEO.

Martin Leach once headed Ford of Europe (before an acrimonious departure that led to the courts and, eventually, an out of court settlement) and then spent a short time at Fiat Group as Maserati's CEO before being ousted in a purge by current Fiat Group boss Sergio Marchionne.

Leach then worked as a consultant to AT Kearney alongside AT Kearney's Steve Young on the 'INDEGO' project that considered ideas for a 'next generation car company' that would bypass existing industry structures (to see INDEGO pdf presentation, click here).

Leach was also named as a participant in SAIC's bid for failed MG Rover assets in 2005.

LDV marketing director Steve Miller told just auto: "They both bring enormous experience to the business, Martin Leach has a long track record of management with Maserati and Ford, and Steve Young has been in the industry for 30 years. Together they have a wealth of experience and will bring different strategic thinking than past owners.

"We have for many years achieved a good market share but lacked the resources and know-how to expand into mainland Europe effectively. We can now make the breakthrough in a meaningful way."

LDV's Drews Lane plant, in Washwood Heath, Birmingham, is currently in shutdown until next week, when Young and Leach are due to meet the current workforce. The new group takes over private equity firm Sun European Partners, who paid GBP20m (US$35m) to acquire the van maker seven months ago. 

Miller added: "We are part of GAZ's wider strategy, and they would like to build the Maxus in Russia. If we look at the way GAZ wants to expand, in order for them to grow and become the third or fourth largest commercial manufacturer in the world, they will need to increase some of their footprint and this can now include manufacturing the LDV product.

"Venture capitalists are not renowned for taking a long term-view, so this is a key difference with the new owner. We are delighted at the news given GAZ's stability as a business."