studiVZ CEO departs "with immediate effect"

Berlin’s startup scene was rocked today when one of it’s premier companies lost its CEO in apparent management putsch. studiVZ, the Facebppk-like social network which was bought by publishing group and investor Holtzbrinck for $112m after only two years, said goodbye to CEO Marcus Riecke in a tellingly curt statement. He will be replaced by Vice President of Sales Dr. Clemens Riedl (Google translation):

Change of Management at studiVZ Ltd.

Stuttgart (AP) – The publishing group Georg von Holtzbrinck following changes in its subsidiaries studiVZ Ltd. [would like it to be] known: Marcus Riecke, CEO of studiVZ Ltd., is leaving the company at his own request with immediate effect.

In addition to his duties as Vice President of Sales, Dr. Clemens Riedl took over the task of studiVZ Ltd CEO. Dr. Riedl was in August this year as a long-time manager of Holtzbrinck Tagesspiegel to studiVZ Ltd.

“We thank Marcus Riecke for his very successful work in studiVZ Ltd. And its contribution to the development of the company,” said Dr. Jochen Gutbrod, Deputy CEO of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, and for online business.

My sources tell me that Riecke’s departure is related to an internal war the company is having between those who want to throw in the towel and offer to sell to Facebook, which with 800,000 users severely lags behind studiVZ’s 10m, and those who want to tough it out for the foreseable future.

Facebook is currently trying to gain more users by engineering a grass-roots marketing campaign but will have trouble denting studiVZ’s lead.