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Durov Steps Down as CEO of VKontakte

Published: April 1, 2014 (Issue # 1803)



  • Durov cited last year's shake-up in the composition of the company's stakeholders as significantly curbing his decision-making ability.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  • Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov posted this picture along with a note announcing that he is leaving his post.
    Photo: Pavel Durov / Vkontakte

The founder of Russia's largest social network VKontakte, Pavel Durov, stepped down as CEO of the company after seven years in the post. He announced this on his Vkontakte page on April 1.

“The CEO has significantly less freedom in managing the company after the changes occurred in the Vkontakte shareholders' structure in April 2013,” Durov said. He added that he would continue cooperating with the company as a founder but was not interested in any formal position.

"It has become increasingly complicated to stick to the principles we once founded our social site upon," Durov said in his farewell letter, which included a picture of jumping dolphins with the text: "So long and thanks for all the fish."

A source close to the company confirmed Durov's resignation to Kommersant. In a tweet, the spokesperson for Vkontakte, Grigory Lobushkin, declined to provide any comment on Durov's statements. But an unnamed source close to the company said the vice president of the company and former president of Kommersant editorial house Dmitry Sergeyev will step in as provisional head of the company, RBC reported.

As recently as February, Lobushkin had denied reports Durov was planning to resign and refused to comment about possible successors.

VKontakte, a site similar to Facebook that draws most of its users from the former Soviet Union, has gone through several changes since investment fund United Capital Partners owned by businessman Ilya Sherbovich bought out two of the site's co-founders in April 2013, becoming its biggest shareholder with a 48 percent stake.

Since then Sherbovich publicly disapproved Durov's actions, accusing him among other things of using Vkontakte resources to promote the instant messenger Telegram, which, according to Sherbovich, was a rival.

Shortly after that Durov's brother stepped down as technical director of the firm.

In December 2013, Durov sold his 12 percent stake to MegaFon's CEO Ivan Tavrin, a close affiliate of billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who now owns the controlling share in Vkontakte after his Mail.ru group bought Tavrin's stake earlier this month.

After that, more changes took place in the management of the company. Durov's close allies, brothers Ilya and Igor Perekopsky, who held the positions of deputy CEO and financial director, left the company.

Pavel Durov, who created VKontakte in 2006 and has been founder and CEO of the company ever since, is branded by industry people as the Russian Zuckerberg. In 2013 the biggest Russian social network boasted that 14 million new users had joined it.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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