PM Criticizes Bank Directors for High Salaries Skip to content

PM Criticizes Bank Directors for High Salaries

Director of Arion Bank, formerly Kaupthing, Höskuldur Ólafsson earns ISK 4.3 million (USD 37,000, EUR 27,000) per month. Birna Einarsdóttir, his counterpart at Íslandsbanki, formerly Glitnir, has a monthly salary of ISK 2.6 million (USD 22,000, EUR 16,000), while Steinthór Pálsson, Landsbanki’s director, earns almost ISK 1.1 million (USD 9,000, EUR 7,000) per month.


Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

These numbers, as stated in Morgunbladid, are from 2010. According to Fréttabladid, the salaries of the highest-ranking executives in Arion Bank and Íslandsbanki increased significantly last year.

Ólafsson is now said to earn around ISK 5 million per month, which is approximately 145 percent more than what his predecessor earned. The bank’s employment cost increased more than 33 percent last year.

“I haven’t asked for any increases. I was just hired at this salary,” Ólafsson told Fréttabladid but would otherwise not comment on his wages. Einarsdóttir’s salary has increased by 25 percent, the newspaper states.

Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir reacted to the news of the bank directors’ salaries by commenting on her Facebook site:

“There is no moral justification for the excessive pay which the highest-ranking executives of Arion Bank and Íslandsbanki have received in the past year. Their conduct is an intolerable provocation and a direct threat to stability and peace in society. It is unacceptable that the highest-ranking executives of banks and companies shovel out millions for themselves while the public is struggling to cope with the consequences of the banking collapse.”

According to, representatives of the three banks will attend a meeting with the Trade Committee of the Icelandic parliament, Althingi, today to discuss annual financial statements and the banks’ returns.

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