Páll Magnússon, who was hired as chairman of the Icelandic State Financial Investments (ISFI) only two weeks ago, has officially declined the position in the face of great unpopularity and threats of a walk-out from the ISFI board.
Blogger for DV Teitur Atlason first focused attention on the hire, questioning Páll’s qualifications, and pointing 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. A poll he had Market and Media Research conduct on the matter showed 89% of the public against the hire.
Despite Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon’s best attempts to defend the hire, the ISFI board of directors asked to be fired if Páll was to be hired. Their credibility as the institution in charge of the government’s investments – among other duties – would be damaged by the hire, they asserted. As such, this hire would make their job increasingly difficult to the point of impossible.
In light of all this Páll has officially declined the position. In his parting shot, he accused politicians of crossing the line to engage in personal vendettas over a public hire.
Who will replace Páll as chairman is as yet still undetermined.