Russia's Rambler CEO, Board Members Quit To Spend More Time In London

imageAs predicted last month, the CEO of Rambler Media Group, one of Russia’s top web outfits, is stepping down after two years at the helm. The company is floated on London’s AIM exchange, has all of its business operations run from there. Mark Opzoomer is quitting “in order to pursue other business and personal interests in London where he will be permanently based“, the release says.

In a sign, perhaps, some Russian directors want a greater say, chairman Robert Brown and non-executive director Nick Hynes and Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper are all quitting the company’s board, too. One board member, Sergey Tikhonov, said: “These board changes are aimed at reshaping the leadership of Rambler with a view to supporting further growth and enhancing shareholder value in the current environment in Russia.” A former *Yahoo* Europe MD, Opzoomer is also a non-executive director for video index Blinkx. Opzoomer has set up a transition board and the company will search for a new CEO and directors.

The news caps off a worrisome year for Rambler – the sale of its Begun contextual ads unit to *Google* failed on a supposed antitrust technicality, its share of Russia’s search market fell from 14.9 percent to just 6.4 percent and the company was said to have laid off half its staff. <a href=";range=my;indicator=volume;charttype=line;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=on;source=undefined" title="Rambler's London share price has crashed under Opzoomer – after rising to a 2007 high of 55 points after floating on AIM in 2005, it crashed in August, even before the failed Google (NSDQ: GOOG) sale, and hit a 2.02 low last month January.

Rambler is a top-three search portal and the fifth-placed website in Russia behind, Yandex and social networks, and Vkontakte, according to TNS. Its operations go beyond just its eponymous portal and also include online newspaper, price comparison site, Begun, digital ad agency Index20 and a co-branded version of the ICQ IM client.