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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rambler Loses CEO and 3 Directors

Rambler Media said Wednesday that CEO Mark Opzumer and three board members would leave this spring in the latest setback for the company, which has been struggling to keep up with market leader Yandex and U.S.-based Google.

Konstantin Vorontsov, head of corporate communications, wrote in a response to e-mailed questions that the shakeup was intended to better equip Rambler Media to get through the economic crisis.

"The changes are aimed at reshaping the leadership of the company in the current environment in Russia, when companies have to make tough decisions. This is also true for the board: The environment is changing, and fresh blood is needed," he said.

The British-registered Rambler is part of Vladimir Potanin's Prof-Media and owns Internet portal Rambler.ru as well as the news site Lenta.ru and the blogging and advertising platform Begun.

The company said in a statement that chairman Robert Brown and two nonexecutive board members would leave the company with Opzumer, who plans to pursue business opportunities in London when his contract expires in March.

Chief financial officer Nikita Sergienko and the two remaining nonexecutive board members will remain at the company.

Rambler said in January that its 2008 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization had grown 10 percent to 15 percent and that it expected to post revenue growth of 60 percent for the year.

But the fourth-quarter results trailed off sharply, with revenue falling 5 percent year on year, and Rambler said it expected EBITDA for the period to be negative. Rambler announced at the time that it had fired 10 percent to 15 percent of its staff to maintain positive figures in 2009.

Last summer, Rambler agreed to sell Begun to Google for $140 million, but the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service scuttled the deal in October, saying it had not been given adequate information.

Vorontzov declined to comment on Rambler's market share or its plans to attract more users. The portal ranks below both Yandex, which controls 54 percent of the Russian market, and Google, which has 32 percent.

Yandex, the oldest Russian search engine, is currently in the process of opening up an office next to Google in California's Silicon Valley.