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Posted on on October 16th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

Forget Björk and Make Way for New Icelandic Stars: Elín & Birna
by ERIKA YOST on OCTOBER 14, 2008


Time to let the women clean up after the boys. According to the Financial Times, Elín Sigfúsdóttir and Birna Einarsdóttir are set to become chief executives of New Landsbanki and New Glitnir respectively, the nationalized banks created by the Icelandic government in the wake of the crisis. One government minister said their appointments were an attempt to signal a new culture within the banking system.

Landsbanki, Glitnir and Kaupthing – known for their aggressive international expansion – collapsed last week under the weight of their debt, leaving the Icelandic economy in very dangerous waters. Many have laid blame for the crisis on the young and predominantly male bankers whose “eyes became bigger than their stomachs”, as one banker conceded. The women are expected to curb the “bonus-driven risk-taking” culture that has dominated in recent years.


The new banks will focus solely on domestic operations, in an attempt to keep money flowing around Iceland’s crushed economy. For the full Financial Times article click here.


Corporate Banking at Landsbanki:   S. Elín Sigfúsdóttir

S. Elín Sigfúsdóttir is a business administration graduate from the University of Iceland (1979). She took up the position of Managing Director of Corporate Banking in May 2003. Prior to that she worked for Búnaðarbanki Íslands hf. for 24 years, rising to Managing Director of Corporate Banking after having been a Senior Director and Assistant Managing Director of the same division. She has been a board member of Landsbanki Luxembourg SA and SP-Fjármögnun hf. since 2003. She previously served on the boards of Búnaðarbanki in 1998-2003 and Lýsing hf. from 2000-2003.


and at the Glitnir Bank:

Birna Einarsdóttir
Executive Vice President Iceland Commercial Banking

Ms. Einarsdóttir was appointed to the Glitnir Executive Board in February 2007. She first joined Glitnir (then Iðnaðarbankinn) in 1987. She was Director of Marketing and Sales of Íslandsbanki. After working for the Royal Bank of Scotland for six years she rejoined Glitnir in 2004 and has been in charge of Glitnir’s marketing and sales teams as well as the Corporate development unit. She directed the Bank’s successful re-branding in 2006. In June 2007 she took on the role of head of Glitnir’s Iceland Commercial Bank.

Ms. Einarsdóttir holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration from the University of Iceland and an MBA degree from Edinburgh University.

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