Directors of the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) have sent a letter to Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon asking that they be relieved of their duties, due to what they see as the “unacceptable” hiring of Páll Magnússon as the new chairman.
Blogger for DV Teitur Atlason has written extensively on the hire, pointing out that Páll was hired over other applicants despite being less educated and having less experience than any of the other applicants. He also correctly pointed out that he was the assistant to Valgerður Sverrisdóttir when she was Ministry of Business, during the time that Iceland’s banks were privatised. This privatisation is today believed to have paved the way for the 2008 financial collapse.
In addition, Teitur funded a poll, conducted by Market and Media Research, which showed that 89% of respondents were against the hire.
Steingrímur has defended the hire, though, saying that Páll 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.
The directors of the ISFI have now asked Steingrímur to fire them, saying that with Páll at the helm, their credibility as the institution in charge of the government’s investments – among other duties – will be damaged. As such, this hire will make their job increasingly difficult to the point of impossible.
At the time of this writing, none of the officials who initially criticised the hire have commented on the ISFI directors’ decision.