Jan Ake Jonsson, chief executive officer of loss-making Saab Automobile, is one of the main candidates for the top job at Volvo Cars, a Swedish daily reported on Wednesday, quoting sources.
Business daily Dagens Industri said Jonsson is among a handful of key candidates for the position at the Gothenburg-based automaker, and that contact with the Saab executive had already been made.
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, China's largest private carmaker and parent of Hong Kong-listed Geely Automobile, clinched a deal with Ford in March to buy Volvo Cars in China's biggest overseas auto purchase.
The goal is to present a new chief executive in connection with the final signing of the deal in August, the paper reported. Volvo Cars' current CEO, Stephen Odell, plans to leave to head Ford Europe.
Saab was acquired from General Motors GM.UL by Dutch luxury carmaker Spyker Cars.
Jonsson declined to comment when asked by Dagens Industri about the position. I have promised (Spyker CEO) Victor Muller to stay at Saab for a while longer, he was quoted as saying.
Volvo Cars spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said he had no comment, adding: This is up to Geely. Saab was not immediately available.
Volvo, which last made a full-year profit in 2005 despite record sales in 2007, has bled cash in recent years and cut thousands of jobs in its quest to regain profitability.
Zhejiang Geely President Yang Jiang has said Geely, which plans to build a Volvo plant in China, will not accept losing money from Volvo even for a year.
(Editing by Michael Shields)