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‘Russian Facebook’ founder quits

April 01, 2014, 18:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"The freedom of action of the chief executive in managing the company has significantly reduced," Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s most popular social network VKontakte says
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Pavel Durov, the founder of Russia’s most popular social network VKontakte, has announced resignation from his current post as the company's general director.

A source close to VKontakte’s shareholders told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday that this was not an April Fool’s Day joke and Durov would step down from his post indeed.

Durov wrote on his VKontakte page: “Following my brother [Nikolay Durov], who stepped down as technical director in mid-2013, I am leaving the post of VKontakte’s CEO.”

“As a result of recent events that followed the changes in VKontakte’s shareholders’ equity in April 2013, the freedom of action of the chief executive in managing the company has significantly reduced,” he said. “It has become increasingly difficult to stick to the principles we once founded our social network upon.”

In earlier reports from ITAR-TASS, VKontakte’s shareholders were said to consider at least three candidates as Durov's possible successors. The short list included the acting executive director of VKontakte, Dmitry Sergeyev, the head of Russia’s social network Odnoklassniki (Classmates), Ilya Shirokov, and his predecessor Nikita Sherman.

“The most likely candidate for the position of VKontakte’s CEO in place of Durov is Dmitry Sergeyev. He will be obviously nominated for the post if the network’s team manages to keep Andrey Rogozov as the head of VKontakte’s development department,” a source close to Vkontakte’s management told ITAR-TASS, adding that if Rogozov resigned, Ilya Shirokov would be most likely appointed as VKontakte’s CEO.

In January, Durov announced the sale of his 12% stake in VKontakte worth $350-480 million, which was bought by mobile phone provider Megafon's CEO Ivan Tavrin, who later transferred his share to Russia’s largest Internet company Mail.ru Group.

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