Blog: It's Gaz Group not Gazprom
Simon Warburton | 1 July 2011
This year's Automotive News Congress in the rainy, misty city of Cologne was treated to an extremely entertaining turn by GAZ Group CEO Bo Anderson.
The Swede delivered a tour de force of valuable insights into how GAZ Group had turned itself around and was now for example, the fifth largest maker of buses in the world.
Based in what he described as the "heartland" of Russia, Anderson gave an indication of just how huge an operation GAZ Group was - and to a large extent - still is. He made an extraordinary 10,000 managers redundant as well as vast numbers of workers, but has emerged as a leaner, more efficient organisation.
Anderson mixes in the highest circles in Russia as well. Apart from meeting Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin several times, the GAZ Group CEO wistfully noted he was mistaken "every third time" as the CEO of multi-billion dollar making Gazprom.
The Russian energy giant might be making an eye-watering US$25bn annual profit, but Anderson's GAZ Group isn't doing too badly either.
And as Anderson - who spent a significant amount of time with GM in Michigan noted: "I work more hours than I did in Detroit, but I enjoy every hour."
Last night was ANE's Gala dinner and featured as guest speaker Ford of Europe's hard-hitting Stephen Odell who certainly pulled no punches when it came to his forthright views on European Union automotive policy and overcapacity.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...