Hungary’s Index “loses” another CEO, at a loss about future

Hungary’s leading news portal Index, which warned about a week ago that its independence was in “grave danger” due to external pressure, has “lost” another CEO. Zsolt Ződi spent less than a week at the outlet and, saying he was out of his depth, stepped down on Tuesday.

László Bodolai, Chairman of the Foundation for Hungarian Progress that owns Zrt., informed the outlet’s staff and the rest of Hungarian press at the same time that the new CEO of the company, the recently appointed Zsolt Ződi, has decided to step down effective on 30 June.

In the press release, Ződi stated the reason for his departure:

After I familiarised myself with the financial situation of the company, I reached the conclusion that carrying out the necessary changes in such a large organisation is a task way beyond me.

Previous CEO András Pusztay said the Board of Directors had taken a decision at a staff meeting that he could not have seen through with a good conscience. Editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull was also removed from the Board. 

"These developments happened above our heads, as staff, we have no say or influence in these matters," editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull said on Tuesday.

Index has seen two CEOs leave in just two weeks, and as of yet, they don't know who will be the next to assume the vacant position.

"And we don't know what these necessary changes are. But what we do know is this:

  • We know that we want to write the news in peace.
  • We know that we want to cover the developments of public affairs, culture, technology, science, and sports as quickly and accurately as possible. 
  • We know that we want big headlines about prominent people, but we also want to uncover every detail of smaller stories that interest our readers.
  • We know that we want to put questions to power, and we want to inform you of the answers.
  • We know that besides hard news, entertainment is also important, so we want to keep our sense of humour.
  • We know that we want to finally devote all of our time to making a news website, and to that only."

Dull added Index is “experiencing the biggest crisis the site has ever faced”.

Under a proposal by the Board of the company owning Index the sections would be outsourced to external businesses. After that report by news portal Index set its independence gauge to “at risk”, sounding the alarm that their independence was in “grave danger”. Last Monday, editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull was removed from the outlet’s Board of Directors, saying he “has made internal decisions public”, while he could keep his job.

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