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Forbes Compiles List of Most Influential Women in Hungary

Fanni Kaszás 2020.03.03.

Forbes Hungary recently released its sixth annual list of the 50 most influential women in Hungary. The list ranks the women in different categories: business, public life, culture, and media. The business category is led, for the second year running, by Éva Hegedüs, the majority owner of Granite Bank, followed by newcomers Beatrix Mészáros, Anna Ungár, and Katalin Walter, who made the list for the first time. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s daughter Ráhel Orbán moved up two places in the public life category and came in second after Katalin Novák, state secretary for youth and family affairs; while producer Mónika Mécs made it to the culture section. Just like every year, there were dropouts as well.

Overall, there are several returnees at the top of the lists. Éva Hegedüs, the majority owner and CEO of Gránit Bank, has been leading the 20-member business category of the most influential Hungarian women for the second year in a row. Hegedüs is followed by Ilona Dávid, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Volánbusz Zrt., which employs more than 19,000 people, and Gabriella Heiszler, Managing Director of Spar, which operates more than 570 stores in the country. The newcomers on the business list are Andrea Solti, Chairman of the Board of Shell Hungary Zrt., an active member of the Hungarian Business Leaders Forum (HBLF), head of the HR workshop.

Beatrix Mészáros, daughter of the richest Hungarian Lőrinc Mészáros, came in seventh after taking control of the most important company in the family business, Opus Global Nyrt. in 2017. Anna Ungár, daughter of historian Mária Schmidt, debuted in 12th place. She has become an important player in the real estate market as the chairman of the board and co-owner of BIF (Budapest Real Estate Plc).

Andrea Bártfai-Máger, who led the public life category last year as Minister, without Portfolio slipped to fourth place. Thus, the list is headed by Katalin Novák, State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs, Vice-President of Fidesz, Member of Parliament, who is also the face of the government family support program, and is also handling the communication between Fidesz and the European People’s Party.

Ráhel Orbán, the daughter of the Prime Minister, is now second on the list of ten, stepping up two places from last year. Judit Varga, Minister of Justice, who was named “rising star” last year, was ranked third in the public affairs section. Anikó Lévai, the wife of the prime minister, who was in first place two years ago, is currently sixth in the category.

Last year, the National Film Fund’s Ágnes Havas, seemed to be unshakable in the Culture category, but this year she was preceded by Beáta Kolosi, General Manager of Líra Könyv Zrt. after Havas couldn’t keep her position following the death of Andy Vajna. There’s a newcomer on this list as well in ninth place: Mónika Mécs, producer of ‘On Body and Soul,’ the film which was shortlisted for the foreign language Oscar, as well as this year’s Oscar entry ‘Those Who Remained.’

There are no big surprises in the media category. Gabriella Vidus, CEO of RTL Hungary, which is the most influential media section this year as usual. The second is Gabriella Halkó, TV2’s Chief Financial Officer, and the third is Kriszta D. Tóth, founder and owner of WMN.

Per usual, Forbes Hungary compiled this year’s list using data provided by the Bisnode company’s information system as well as information gathered during backdoor discussions. The editorial staff decided on the list’s final order after thoughtfully scrutinizing the accomplishments achieved last year by women living and working in Hungary.

featured photo: Katalin Novák State Secretary for Family and Youth Affairs, first on the Public Life list. (photo: MTI/Mónus Márton)

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