By Bojana Barlovac
Managing director Bodo Hombach is preparing to step down but this is unlikely to affect WAZ’s plan to withdraw from the Balkans.
Bodo Hombach, managing director of the WAZ Media Group, is leaving his post, Paul Binder, head of communications, confirmed to Balkan Insight.
Hombach, a former minister in Gerhard Schroder’s Social Democratic government who later headed the European Union-led Balkan Stability Pact, became managing director of WAZ in 2002.
According to the German website Taz, Hombach has already found a new job as president of BAPP, a centre for research and teaching practical politics that is part of the University of Bonn.
Binder did not disclose how forthcoming changes in the WAZ media group might affect Balkan media in which the company has shares.
In June 2010, Hombach announced that WAZ intended to withdraw from the Balkans. That year, WAZ sold off some of its main newpapers in Romania and Bulgaria.
WAZ’s withdrawal from Serbia and Macedonia is ongoing, Balkan Insight has learned from a source close to the company.
“At the moment, WAZ is negotiating with several partners from Serbia on the sale of its shares in Serbian media,” the source said.
WAZ has a 50-per-cent share in the daily newspaper Politika and a 55-per-cent share in the Novi Sad daily, Dnevnik.
Three Macedonian daily newspapers owned by Germany’s WAZ Media Group, Dnevnik, Utrinski Vesnik and Vest, are up for sale, though the potential buyers are yet unknown.
“Negotiations are ongoing but are not nearly finished,” MPM director Srgjan Kerim told Macedonia’s Alfa TV on Sunday.