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Björn Arne Christer Wahlroos
October 10, 1952 |
|Residence||Joensuu mansion, Salo, Finland|
|Education||Doctor of Economic Sciences (1979)|
|Alma mater||Hanken School of Economics|
|Board member of||Sampo Group, chairman
Nordea Bank, chairman
Björn Arne Christer Wahlroos (born October 10, 1952 in Helsinki) is the Chairman of the Board in Sampo Group, Nordea and UPM-Kymmene. Wahlroos’s nickname "Nalle", derived from his first name Björn ("bear" in Swedish), means "teddy bear" in Finnish and Swedish.
After graduation from gymnasium in 1971 Björn Wahlroos studied at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki. He graduated as a M.Sc in 1975 and got his D.Sc in 1979. The following years were spent in academia; as an acting professor of Economics at the Hanken School of Economics and as a visiting professor at Brown University and Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Illinois, United States.
In 1985 Wahlroos switched career to banking, joining the executive board of Union Bank of Finland (Suomen Yhdyspankki). In 1988 he was appointed Executive vice president and Head of Investment Banking & Treasury at UBF. Together with half a dozen of his colleagues Wahlroos bought out the investment banking operations of UBF in 1992 and started the partnership Mandatum & Co, which soon became the leading advisor of mergers and acquisitions in Scandinavia. Through a merger with Interbank in 1998 Mandatum was listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange.
In 2000 Wahlroos merged his banking group into Sampo-Leonia and took over as President and CEO of the combined company, also becoming its biggest private shareholder. In 2009 Wahlroos resigned as CEO and was elected Chairman of Sampo plc, holding company of Sampo Group, which by then had become the biggest insurer in Northern Europe and also the main shareholder of Nordea, the region’s largest bank. In March 2011 he was elected as the Chairman of Nordea.
Wahlroos is also Chairman of the Board of UPM-Kymmene.
While a student, Wahlroos was involved in left-wing politics. He was a member of Finlands Svenska Skolungdomsförbundet in 1969-1973 and communist revolutionary student association Sosialistiset taloustieteen opiskelijat in 1971-1973. He left extreme left politics in 1973.
After this he has withdrawn from active party politics although he is a paid-up member of the Swedish People's Party. He has given public comments that show some of his thoughts.
In 2001, he declared himself in favor of a citizen's income in Finland. “Basic security, in my mind, must never be threatened because it is an important part of human modern society”, Wahlroos said to the Finnish newspaper Uutispäivä Demari.
March 2009 Wahlroos predicted that the recession will not endure for long, because the market corrects itself quickly.
March 2010 Image magazine interview he spoke of Finnish development aid being cut because "we have 50 years of money thrown into a bottomless well".
In addition, he criticized the financing of university degrees as supporting idleness, and agricultural and forestry research expenditures as excessive.
In June 2010 Wahlroos told the Financial Times that Europe will have to reconsider the future of the Social market economy model, because people can not be taxed in the future in the current fashion, and poverty and broken families are unsustainable.
Wahlroos believes that agricultural subsidies should be abolished throughout the world. "It is absurd that Finland is with one hand supporting the Zambian agribusiness and the other the EU common agricultural policy." "...giving to developing countries at the same time ... when the EU is to abolish agricultural subsidies and open tariff barriers on agricultural products"
Wahlroos is married and has two adult children. His son Thomas Wahlroos is well known in the European professional poker circuit and has won nearly 1,5 million dollars from tournament poker.
- Finnish business magazine story on Wahlroos (in finnish)
- Pietiläinen, Tuomo (24 March 2011). "Björn Wahlroos Nordean hallituksen puheenjohtajaksi". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 24 March 2011.
- Personal data: Corresponding article on the Finnish Wikipedia