The board members of the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) requested yesterday that Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon relieve them of their duties. In a declaration they explained that outside interference in the hiring of Páll Magnússon as ISFI’s new CEO made it impossible for them to continue.
Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
Sigfússon told ruv.is that he regrets the board’s resignation but respects their decision. He added that he intends to appoint a new board as soon as possible so that the ISFI’s operations can continue with as little interruption as possible.
When asked whether the hiring of Magnússon will be affected, Sigfússon said that formally it still stands although a new position has come up after the board’s resignation.
As to whether the ISFI’s credibility has suffered, he replied, “I don’t think so, not as an institution and no person has been discredited as such. These were just circumstances that came up and people had to face.”
“[The hiring of Magnússon] was controversial and some people made bold statements which in my view did not improve the situation,” the minister concluded.
Among the move’s harshest critics was Social Democrat MP and chairman of the parliament’s Economic and Trade Committee Helgi Hjörvar who declared it a “scandal”, reasoning that Magnússon had neither the education nor experience to serve the position, eyjan.is reports.
Magnússon’s part in privatizing the banks as assistant to former Minister of Economic Affairs Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir was also brought up.
Neither Hjörvar nor Magnússon have commented on the board’s resignation.