On Tuesday, the management board of Agora parted ways with the publisher of Gazeta Wyborcza, Jerzy B. Wójcik. According to our information, he was released on disciplinary basis. The message was delivered by Bartosz Hojka, President of the Management Board, during the meeting convened at 14 meetings. As announced, “important information concerning the publishing part of Gazeta Wyborcza” was to be provided there.
– We are in shock – a person from the editorial board told us shortly after, who wanted to remain anonymous. At. On 15, a meeting of chiefs of “Wyborcza” was held on this matter. – We have accepted the editorial position. We are shocked and we do not accept this type of action – our informant points out. As he adds, however, no decision has yet been made to transfer the position by e-mail to the employees of “GW”.
As we learn, the editorial office has been feeling for some time that “something will happen” about the dispute between the management board and “Wyborcza”, but Tuesday’s information about the dismissal of Wójcik was quite a surprise.
– We can only confirm that the employment contract with the current publishing director of “Gazeta Wyborcza” has been terminated today. The reason and procedure for terminating the cooperation with the publishing director is a matter between the publisher as an employer and an employee. For legal reasons, this is the only thing we can say in this case – We were told by Nina Graboś, Agora’s corporate communications director.
According to the information from Wirtualnemedia.pl, at the meeting of the management of “Gazeta Wyborcza” with the team, it was stated that the reason for the dismissal of Jerzy Wójcik by Agora’s management board was to be unconfirmed allegations of mobbing, made by former board member Agnieszka Sadowska.
As Jaroslaw said Kurski Wójcik may return to “Gazeta Wyborcza” if he refers the case of his dismissal to a labor court – and will win it. “We are dealing with an attempt to destroy” Gazeta Wyborcza “- said Adam Michnik at the meeting.
By the end of the week, “GW” is to announce who will replace Jerzy Wójcik.
We were unable to contact Jerzy Wójcik and Jarosław Kurski, the first deputy in chief of “GW”, on Tuesday.
Dąbała: A specific business line is being implemented
– As I assumed, because only assumptions can be talked about, a specific business line is implemented – assesses in an interview with Wirtualnemedia.pl Prof. Jacek Dąbała, media expert from the Jagiellonian University. – With changes of any kind, smaller or bigger conflicts may arise. It is normal, because it is also about human fate, interests and emotions – he says.
How might the situation develop now? – I suppose that, as in any reasonable business, the company will try to quickly eliminate conflicts in order to continue normal activities and perhaps even – because time is extremely difficult – to intensify its development – emphasizes Dąbała.
Jerzy B. Wójcik associated with Agora since 1993, the publisher of “Wyborcza” since 2016, he was responsible, inter alia, for the financial results of the title and the implementation of its strategic goals. He is considered one of the authors of the success of subscribing to the title – a few days ago he spoke about digital subscriptions during the SubscriptiON day conference.
Protest of journalists from “Gazeta Wyborcza”
A conflict between the top executives of the title and the company’s management broke out at the beginning of June this year, when the management board of Agora announced the intention to merge the company’s press segment (mainly Gazeta Wyborcza and Wyborcza.pl) with the Gazeta.pl division. It was supposed to be connected with the dismissal of Wójcik. The chiefs of the title and some journalists protested against it.
A series of e-mails were exchanged between the management of the journal and the company’s management board. At the end of June, a working group was set up to develop a new model of their relationship. She recommended spinning off “Wyborcza” to Agora’s subsidiary, and the process was to be handled by a three-person project group. However, as Agora’s CEO Bartosz Hojka admitted last Friday, work on the spin-off has been suspended.
Among the chief postulates of “Wyborcza” presented a few months ago, there was also the removal of Agnieszka Sadowska, a board member from supervising their team, and the inclusion of a representative of “Wyborcza” in the management board. Sadowska left Agora, but the second postulate remained unfulfilled.
From October, the content of “Wyborcza” no longer appears on the pages of Gazeta.pl, as it has been for years. – Indeed, in October “Gazeta Wyborcza” decided to withdraw the content of Wyborcza.pl from the Gazeta.pl homepage – said Agnieszka Siuzdak, a recently appointed member of Agora’s management board (responsible for Gazeta.pl, among others). – The motivation for such a movement was the desire to increase direct traffic on Wyborcza.pl. We will be able to assess the overall consequences of this decision for both media only after a long time, because we are talking about the potential impact on the long-term aspects of the business. Only in a few months we will be able to fully answer this question – she emphasized.
Agora limited the loss
In the third quarter of this year. Agora with a 38% increase in revenues recorded a decrease in net loss from PLN 9 to 1.5 million. Revenue from tickets and snacks in Helios cinemas surged much more than from advertising and press sales.