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Former RTL exec to run rival TV2

Dirk Gerkens will become the new boss of Hungarian commercial broadcaster TV2, returning to the country he left last year amid claims he had received death threats over his company’s position on a local advertising tax.

Dirk GerkensGerkens had run RTL-owned RTL Klub for 13 years before stepping down last March.

Several local reports said he will now head up RTL Klub rival TV2. Gerkens could not be reached for comment, but sources confirmed he was heading back to Hungary.

The furore over the advertising tax that saw him leave RTL Klub saw RTL and Hungarian authorities clash over a controversial tax on TV ad revenues.

RTL has butted heads with the Hungarian government in recent times, with the Luxembourg-based channel operator critical of high advertising taxes at have affected the RTL Klub channel.

Bertelsmann-owned RTL replaced Gerkens with Gabriella Vidus, who was upped from general manager of ad sales Hungary to country CEO. RTL Klub programming director Péter Kolosi was elevated to deputy CEO in the management rejig necessitated by Gerkens’ departure.

Commercial free-to-air channels group TV2 was ultimately owned by SBS before being sold in 2013 to management. It is now controlled by Andrew G. Vajna, the Hungarian commissioner for the feature film industry. He recently received regulatory approval to buy the station.

TV2 is the second-ranked commercial station in Hungary.