Worked at the Putilov plant in Petersburg, 1908. During World War I, sailor in the Baltic fleet, 1914-1918. Joined the Communist Party, 1917.
During the Civil War, member of the Red Guard, Cheka official, 1917-1921. After the Civil War, received a technical education at a mining and electrotechnical institute. Became famous as an energetic manager of the Moscow car works, 1926-1939 and 1940-1950.
In 1939, Minister of Machine Building. From 1953, Minister of Road Transport of the USSR. In 1956, the Moscow car works ZIS (Zavod Imeni Stalina) was re-named after him ZIL (Zavod Imeni Likhacheva). This factory manufactures special black limousines for the Soviet elite.