Mediaworks Hungary Zrt. acting CEO Viktor Katona has resigned for “health reasons” after only three days on the job. Taking over from Balázs Rónai, who resigned rather than preside over the “suspension” of the 60-year-old left-wing print daily. Katona had the dubious honor of notifying some 60 Népszabadság employees that their services were no longer required after locking them out of their offices and email accounts. Some of the employees had been with the leading opposition newspaper for over 30 years.
The former director of operations and finances for Mediaworks announced Monday night that he was resigning for health reasons. It came as a disappointment to the suspended editors of Népszabadság whom Mediaworks representatives had promised to meet on Monday to discuss a possible sale of the paper.
Although the negotiations did not take place on Monday, an announcement that night by Mediaworks suggested that they would the following day, and that the editorial staff of Népszabadság had expressed an interest in purchasing the paper.
“The publisher and its owner have a positive view of this interest, which is why it will begin negotiations Tuesday about the details of a potential acquisition,” the statement read in part.
Any sale of Népszabadság and its online edition, nol.hu, however, will have to be approved by state-owned Hungarian Trade Bank (MKB), which has registered a lien on the trademark name.