Son of State Media Chief Appointed CEO of Russia's Vkontakte
Russia's largest social network, Vkontakte, has appointed the son of a pro-Kremlin media executive as its new CEO, in the latest sign of increased government control over the Internet.
Boris Dobrodeyev, whose father Oleg Dobrodeyev heads the state-owned media holding VGTRK, has been named the new chief of Vkontakte having "de facto executed the powers of general director since April," the company said Thursday in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.
The appointment comes two days after Russia's leading Internet company Mail.ru Group, which is majority-owned by the country's richest man Alisher Usmanov, bought out a rival Vkontakte shareholder and assumed 100 percent ownership of the social network.
The rival shareholder, Moscow-based investment fund United Capital Partners, or UCP, had voted down Dobrodeyev's appointment this summer, but said it would reconsider its stance if Mail.ru dropped a lawsuit contesting its ownership of Vkontakte stock.
The shareholders' dispute ended earlier this week, when Mail.ru announced Tuesday that it had bought out UCP's 48 percent stake in Vkontakte for $1.47 billion and now was a sole owner of the social network.
The buy-out opened the way for Dobrodeyev's appointment as Vkontakte's new director, a Mail.ru spokesperson was quoted as saying by news website Gazeta.ru.
Dobrodeyev replaces Vkontakte whizz-kid founder Pavel Durov, who sold his stake in the company and fled the country earlier this year after a bitter shareholder dispute and what he said was pressure from Russia's security services to share confidential information about his network's users.