A simmering feud at investment bank Straumur-Burdarás boiled over at a board meeting yesterday.
As widely reported in the Icelandic media, investors representing over 10 per cent of the publicly traded company had demanded a shareholder meeting to elect a new board. The board convened yesterday to set a date for the meeting and decided for July 19. Three of five directors, including the chairman, also voted in favour of firing the current CEO, Thórdur Már Jóhannesson, replacing him with Burdarás’s former CEO, Fridrik Jóhannsson. The two directors who voted against the change of CEO have complained to the Financial Supervisory Authority that an alternate director was illegally summoned to the board meeting yesterday.
The chairman of the board of Straumur-Burdarás is Björgólfur “Thor” Björgólfsson, Iceland’s first dollar billionaire. According to the British newspaper Guardian, Thor made his money in the mafia-infested brewing business in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2002, Thor and his two partners, his father Björgólfur Gudmundsson and Magnús Thorsteinsson, acquired a controlling stake in the former state-owned bank Landsbanki in a controversial privatization. Landsbanki and other companies related to the Björgólfur junior and senior control approximately 37 per cent of the shares of Straumur-Burdarás.
The two dissident directors are Magnús Kristinsson and Kristinn Björnsson.