Nova makes changes

B'caster replaces CEO in wake of CME decision

PRAGUE — The fallout continues from Central European Media Enterprises’ successful $358 million damages claim against the Czech Republic for failing to protect its stake in commercial broadcaster Nova TV.

Petr Dvorak has been named CEO of Nova, replacing station director Vladimir Zelezny who was fired on May 14 to limit damage to the station’s owners in the wake of the lawsuits.

Zelezny wrested control of Nova from Ronald Lauder-backed CME in 1999, causing CME share price to plummet and sparking four years of court wrangles that have finally cost the Czech Republic the huge sum, plus $4 million in costs.

Zelezny’s successor is a manager of co-license holder PPF, one of the largest investment groups in the Czech Republic, and vice chairman of Nova’s board.

According to a statement, the appointment was made swiftly to prevent disruption at the station and speculation over its future.

However, it appears to be temporary: A spokesman said the CEO role would be properly resolved by the end of the year.

On Tuesday CME announced that it had received the damages money from the Czech Republic. CME continues to pursue a $5.3 million claim against Zelezny and Nova TV’s license holders.

It has also filed in the Czech Republic to restore its exclusive servicing agreement with Nova TV. That case has yet to be heard, despite a four-year wait. A win would mean a substantial loss to PPF.

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