Haraldur Þorleifsson, known as Halli, has garnered multiple Person of the Year Awards from various Icelandic media outlets, including from national broadcaster RÚV, Morgunblaðið, and Vísir.
Halli, a 45 year-old designer, gained nation-wide recognition this year when, after the sale of his tech company Ueno to Twitter, he chose to be paid the sale price as wages. Normally in such large sales, the payment comes in the form of stock or other financial instruments, which categorize the sale as capital gains, meaning it is taxed at a much lower rate. Halli, however, gladly paid the higher tax rate, having spoken publicly on many occasions about the benefits he has received from the Icelandic social system.
Halli was born with muscular dystrophy and came from a working class background. In statements about his decision to pay back into the Icelandic social system, he cited both healthcare and education in Iceland as keys to his success. Notably, he was one of the highest tax payers in the nation after the sale of Ueno.
It’s been a hard year in many ways. Many ups and downs.— Halli (@iamharaldur) December 31, 2022
But on a positive note I was awarded/voted Person of the Year by four of the main networks, programs and publications in Iceland.
Which to a shy and awkward kid feels a bit strange but also quite nice.
Happy new year! pic.twitter.com/1c9kytL4I9
Since the sale of Ueno, Halli has engaged in numerous philanthropic pursuits, earning a reputation as Iceland’s benevolent tech titan.
One of his best-known projects is Ramp Up Iceland, which is building ramps throughout the nation to increase accessibility for people in wheelchairs. He has also personally donated to the legal funds of victims of sexual abuse, and has garnered praise for charitable donations to families in need this holiday season.