Vkontakte CEO Pavel Durov announced that he was quitting his job earlier this month. Today he said he changed his mind and said he would try to stay on as the head of the company. He also said that his resignation was an April Fool’s Day joke.
Durov sold his ownership in the company earlier this year due to a feud with another shareholder over how the Russian social network should be run. When Durov announced his resignation on Tuesday, he said he found it difficult to keep working as the CEO because he can no longer manage the company as he saw fit.
“I am the head of the company,” said Durov in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “As soon as I found out how it was planned for the company to be managed in my absence in these challenging times, I made a decision to stay.”
United Capital Partners has been battling Durov since the company acquired a 48% stake last April from two other co-founders. United said it received a letter from Durov at 4AM on Thursday morning Moscrow time, which said Durov is revoking his earlier resignation. A letter of his resignation was sent on March 21st.
Alisher Usmanov, a Russian billionaire, owns the other 52% of the website through his Mail.ru Group and is supporting Durov’s battle against United Capital Partners.
Durov posted on his Vkontakte page that his resignation was an April Fool’s Day joke. United Capital Partners said that it did not see the humor in the joke. “Needless to say, we do not consider it funny especially taking into account that the board of Vkontakte is meeting at the moment in Riga to discuss candidates for Durov’s replacement,” said United Capital in a statement. United Capital said Durov was misleading shareholders and for using company expenses for Telegram. Telegram is a messaging app that is not affiliated with Vkontakte. Durov denied the accusation and claimed United Capital was attempting to do a hostile takeover.
Vkontakte now has around 240 million registered users and 60 million daily viewers. This makes Vkontakte the top social network in Russia, even ahead of Facebook.