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Moscow Times Founder to Head RBC

RBC TV CEO Alexander Lyubimov (left) and Sauer (right) at a gala dinner. Vladimir Filonov

Derk Sauer, founder of The Moscow Times, was appointed president of RBC Information Systems media group Thursday but will stay on as chairman of Sanoma Independent Media's supervisory board.

“[RBC] is an interesting company with a strong core website and television,” Sauer told The Moscow Times in a phone interview. “It has had a few turbulent past years, but has a lot of potential.”

A native Dutchman, Sauer founded Independent Media, which publishes The Moscow Times and other periodicals, in 1992. In 2005, he sold the group to Finland's Sanoma, and it was renamed Sanoma Independent Media.

As president, Sauer will be responsible for the group's strategic development, acquisitions priorities and relations with major international partners, an RBC press release stated.

Sauer has also already agreed to become a member of RBC's board of directors. RBC's main shareholder, Onexim, which is controlled by billionaire and political hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov, is later expected to put forward a proposal to make Sauer the board's chairman.

The Independent Media founder said his leadership position at RBC will not clash with the role at his old publishing house because at the latter he is not in a management position and is not responsible for daily business operations.

“I had a lot of free time on my hands, so I wanted to start something new and interesting,” he said.

Sauer has served as chairman of the publisher's supervisory board since 2008, but his current contract expires Dec. 31.

Sanoma Independent Media's chief executive, Yelena Myasnikova, abruptly resigned at the end of September, citing discontent with the centralized management structure at the media group.

There was talk at the time that Sauer also wanted to leave the company, though he later denied those reports.

Sauer has now agreed to a new one-year contract with Sanoma Independent Media, with a possible extension. 

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