Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir

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This is an Icelandic name. The last name is a patronymic, not a family name; this person is properly referred to by the given name Þorgerður.
Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir
Minister of Education, Science and Culture
In office
31 December 2003 – 1 February 2009
Prime Minister Davíð Oddsson; Halldór Ásgrímsson; Geir Haarde
Preceded by Tómas Ingi Olrich
Succeeded by Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Personal details
Born (1965-10-04) 4 October 1965 (age 48)
Reykjavík, Iceland
Political party Independence Party
Spouse(s) Kristján Arason
Children Three children, born 1995–2003
Alma mater University of Iceland
Profession Lawyer
Religion Lutheran

Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir (born 4 October 1965) is an Icelandic politician and former vice-chairman of the Independence Party 2005–2010. She was the Minister of Education, Science and Culture from 31. December 2003 to 1. February 2009 and has been a member of the Althing (Iceland's parliament) since 1999. After the Icelandic economic Crash in 2008, Þorgerður was de facto Deputy Prime Minister in Geir Haarde's absence owing to Geir having been diagnosed with cancer. Although euro-scepticism is traditionally part of the Independence party platform she has said publicly that due to the 2008 financial crises Iceland has no other choice than to join the EU.[1]

Her father is Gunnar H. Eyjólfsson, an actor. Her husband is Kristján Arason. He was CEO of Retail Banking at Icelandic Kaupthing Bank and previously one of Iceland's most successful handball players.Þorgerður Katrín and Kristján have three children, Gunnar Ari (1995), Gísli Þorgeir (1999) and Katrín Erla (2003). Her husband owed Kaupthing bank just under 900 million ISK he’d borrowed to purchase shares in the bank. The debt was never paid back as the board of Kaupthing allowed their staff to transfer the loans and shares asset into private holding companies few months before the bank was taken over by the Icelandic authorities.

Þorgerður Katrín was an officer in Orator, the Law Students' Society at the University of Iceland, an officer in Stefnir, the local Independence Party youth society in Hafnarfjörður, and also the Vice-President of the Executive Committee for the Board of Representatives of the Independence Party in Hafnarfjörður. Þorgerður Katrín is educated as a lawyer from the University of Iceland and graduated in 1993. That year she begin career as a lawyer in the firm Attorneys at Höfðabakki. From 1997 to 1999 she was director of the Social and Current Affairs Department at the National Broadcasting Service.

She is a member of parliament, from 1999 to 2003 for the constituency of Reykjanes and from 2003 for the Southwest constituency. She has served on various committees in the parliament: on the General Committee 1999–2003 as chairman, Education Committee 1999–2003, Transport and Communications Committee 1999–2003, Special Committee on Constitutional Affairs 2000–2003, Industry Committee 2003, Credentials Committee 2003, and the Icelandic delegation to the Committee of Members of Parliament of the EFTA countries 1999–2003 (chairman 2003).

In late summer 2008 and during the late build-up of the Icelandic financial crisis Þorgerður Katrín snapped back during an interview with the Icelandic state news program about a quote by Richard Thomas. Thomas, an analyst at investment bank Merrill Lynch had said that the Icelandic government and their lack of action would drive the Icelandic banks to solvency and that the aim would be to nationalise them. She said: "I think these are remarkable statements form such a respectable investment bank and it dwelled on me for a while what cruel intentions are behind them because there are no arguments supporting this. I must also ask as the Minister of Education if this man doesn’t need a re-education?"

She was then the acting Prime Minister, Minister of Education in Geir Haarde's government and the Independent Party's vice chairman.

Þorgerður Katrín resigned as vice-chairman of the Independence Party on 17 April 2010 after being criticized about the debts of her and Kristján Arason, her husband, former manager in Kaupthing Bank, which collapsed in the bank collapse in October 2008. She decided to take a leave of absence from parliament work and think about her political future after the resignation.



Political offices
Preceded by
Tomas Ingi Olrich
Minister of Education, Science and Culture
Succeeded by
Katrin Jakobsdottir