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New CEO at FL Group

Ragnhildur Geirsdóttir, CEO of FL Group since June 2005, stepped down yesterday. She is replaced by Hannes Smárason former chairman of the group.

The move was widely covered in the Icelandic media last night – both on the news and the news talk shows Iceland today and Spotlight. There are few women at the helm of Icelandic companies, and Geirsdóttir’s appointment as CEO was seen as an example of the opportunities available to Icelandic women in business.

Baugur’s managing director of Nordic investments, Skarphédinn Berg Steinarsson, is FL Group’s new chairman. Thorsteinn M. Jónsson is vice-chairman

At noon yesterday FL Group announced “fundamental changes to the structure of FL Group” and that “investments have now become the main focus of the company”.

According to a press release FL Group’s investment activities will be split into three divisions: Private Equity, specializing in management, acquisition and restructuring projects, headed by Jón Sigurdsson; Asset Management and Portfolio Investments, headed by Albert Jónsson; and Icelease, a division dealing with purchase, sale and leasing on the international aircraft market; this will be headed by Halldór Vilhjálmsson, current managing director of Icelease.

FL Group’s airline and tourist service operations will be divided between two separate subsidiaries: Icelandair Group and FL Travel Group. Icelandair Group, headed by Jón Karl Ólafsson, will handle international airline operations, i.e. Icelandair, Icelandair Cargo, Loftleiðir-Icelandic, Bluebird Cargo, Icelandair Technical Services and Icelandair Ground Services, companies with a combined turnover of ca. ISK 35 billion and over 2,000 employees.

FL Travel Group, headed by Thorsteinn Örn Gudmundsson, will include companies involved in domestic tourist services including Air Iceland, Iceland Tour, Icelandair Hotels, Iceland Travel, Reykjavik Excursions and Icelandair-Hertz Car Rental, companies with a combined turnover of ISK 11 billion and 500 employees.

“These changes are made to clarify the operation focus in each of these companies,” said the new CEO Hannes Smárason. “The result will be strong companies, each in their own field, with clear targets regarding growth and profitability, under the direction of excellent managers. In addition, a clearer division is made between operations and investing.”

Outgoing CEO Ragnhildur Geirsdóttir said, “In the light of the changes in the structure of the company, the board and I have agreed that the time has come to go our separate ways.”

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