Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Question Hangs Over Rambler's Leadership

Anton Nosik may well wish he had heeded the sage adage "don't count your chickens before they hatch."

Nosik, Rambler's vice president of strategy and development, let the cat out of the bag Friday when he told the Netoskop web site that he had been offered the post of president of the popular search engine.

By Monday, the remarks had spread from Lenta.ru, where Nosik is editor in chief, to the Kommersant newspaper, which wrote Rambler was changing its leadership and promised full details Tuesday.

But the premature announcement about the promotion did not apparently sit well with Rambler shareholders.

Nosik, who had said Friday he would assume the new post Monday, said Monday that now he doesn't know when — and if — he will become Rambler president.

"These changes can only be implemented by the board and a shareholders meeting," Nosik said in a telephone interview. "Therefore, there is speculation about this [promotion] being reversed, which is not in my power to influence."

Rambler declined to comment Monday about the appointment of a new Rambler president. Viktor Huaco, who Nosik said had offered him the job, heads Orion Capital Advisors. That company together with Russkiye Fundy holds a controlling stake in Rambler.

A letter from Huaco on Friday, leaked to Ricn.ru's web site, said that current Rambler president Mikhail Khanov would join the advisory board, Nosik would become president and executive director Igor Ashmanov would leave.

"The reason for his departure was that he was not prepared to work with me," Nosik said.

Khanov was tight-lipped Monday.

"So far there have been no changes in the top management of Rambler," he said by telephone. "If there will be, then it will only be through the routine shareholders meeting, which happens at the end of June."

Rambler sources said the meeting could be held much earlier.

Nosik said he had felt confident that Huaco would not oppose his announcing the promotion.

He said that as president his goal would be to get the site to break even by the end of the year.

A pioneer in creating news content for the Russian Internet, the 35-year-old Nosik helped found popular sites Gazeta.ru, Vesti.ru and Lenta.ru and was formerly on Rambler's advisory board.

Yelena Kolmanovskaya, editor in chief of the rival Yandex search engine, said she had doubts about Nosik being the right man to lead Rambler.

"For us, he is more a journalist, more PR and marketing, than somebody to lead a company and create service projects," Kolmanovskaya said.

However, Nosik could be a good pick, she added.

"It seems to me that Rambler has for the past half year had problems with development, so I think that when the owners of Rambler decided to invite Nosik they hoped that he would be able to do something revolutionary," Kolmanovskaya said.