From Iceland — Finance Minister Justifies ISFI Hire

Finance Minister Justifies ISFI Hire

Published October 14, 2011

Despite great public unpopularity with the decision, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon has defended the decision to hire Páll Magnússon as the new director of the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI).
As reported, blogger for DV Teitur Atlason has pointed out that Páll was the assistant to then-Minister of Business Valgerður Sverrisdóttir during a time when the banks were privatised; a move now looked upon with regret in post-crash Iceland. Teitur also said that Páll was the least educated and least experienced applicant for the director position.
On this point, Steingrímur disagrees, saying that he was simply the most qualified candidate for the position. This was based on how well he scored on three tests he was given: a personality test, one on inductive reasoning, and one hypothetical problem that would come up in the job.
Páll scored better than the other applicants on these tests, in addition to fulfilling the education requirements for the position and having experience working in banks. So while perhaps not being as educated or experienced as other candidates, he met the minimum requirements, and scored highest on the three tests given to him when he applied.
Teitur, paying out of pocket for a poll to be conducted on the matter, revealed that when asked, “Do you consider it natural that Páll Magnússon, the city clerk of Kópavogur, be hired as the director of the ISFI?”, 89% responded No, while 11% agreed with the hire. Demographically, respondents were fairly balanced by gender, although people living in the capital were slightly more likely to be against the hire than those living in the countryside. Also, the greater the household income, the more likely a respondent was to agree with the hire.

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