The former Economy Minister and spiritual father of Hungary’s unorthodox economic policies took his seat as governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) a little more than a week ago, but the pace at which he has begun taking over the organization has struck everybody as surprising. Last week he fired all the top execs at the bank, and this week he already started to ditch middle managers, according to news portal origo.hu.
Making transparency more difficult, Matolcsy has banned every employee from making public appearances and statements. He has also banned bank workers from participating at events where they could be asked about their opinions on financial matters or economic policies. An event of this kind, a conference to be co-hosted by the MNB and the Association of Hungarian Economists next week, was called off by the central bank.
According to the news portal, the “dirty work” was undertaken by MNB’s new vice-governor Ádám Balog, deemed to be one of Matolcsy’s most loyal associates within the organization.
Internal accounts say that, on average, one or two managers are dismissed per day, including Péter Benczúr, the head of the research department, one of the most renowned theoretical economists in Hungary, who was fired on Monday. Tamás Czeti and Áron Gereben, the heads of the risk management and financial analysis departments, respectively, were also removed from their positions.
As the BBJ reported earlier, in his final days as economy minister, Matolcsy amended the MNB’s constitution, garnering all power in the hands of the new governor, most importantly the authority to maintain employers’ rights. The two incumbent deputy governors, Júlia Király and Ferenc Karvalits, were effectively demoted; their scope of authority is now solely focused on administrative subtasks.
Matolcsy is rumored to be bringing at least nine key employees to the MNB from his erstwhile Economy Ministry, including Róza Nagy, who will take the newly established position of CEO. Bank sources say that these people are already walking about the Bank’s headquarters, looking for rooms and desks they would find suitable. One of the biggest halls in the building, the Széchenyi room, is likely to become the office of Róza Nagy, origo.hu reported.