Lars Johan Heikensten, born 13 September 1950, is a former Governor of Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden's central bank) and Doctor of Economics. He is currently executive director of the Nobel Foundation.
Heikensten passed his higher school certificate in Bromma in 1970 and spent one year in High school in Marion, Iowa, in the United States, on an AFS International Scholarship. He graduated in economics in 1974 and completed his Doctorate in Economics in 1984 at the Stockholm School of Economics, where he also worked as a teacher and researcher on growth, labour market and development issues.
In 1984 Heikensten was employed as a chief economist at the Swedish National Debt Office. From 1985 he was a Director and later Director-General and Head of the Economic Affairs Department at the Ministry of Finance. During this time he was responsible, amongst other things, for government reports known as the Long-Term Surveys of the Swedish Economy. He became known to a wider public when he around 1990 argued for the need to reform the public expenditure system. Between 1992 and 1995 Heikensten was Chief Economist at Handelsbanken and a member of the Executive Group for Handelsbanken's investment bank, Capital Markets.
In the autumn of 1995 Heikensten became Deputy Governor of Sveriges Riksbank with particular responsibility for monetary policy. He retained this position after the reform where the Riksbank became independent and an Executive Board was set up in 1999. He succeeded Urban Bäckström as Governor of the Riksbank in 2003. During the ten years when Heikensten worked at the Riksbank – from 1995 to 2005 - major changes occurred: the inflation target policy was established and interest rates fell significantly (the repo rate was decreased from 8.91 to 1.5 per cent). At the same time the Riksbank became one of the most transparent central banks in the world. Also, the workforce was drastically reduced (from over 900 to around 400 staff). Heikensten left in 2006 to become the Swedish Member of the European Court of Auditors, the external auditing organisation of the European Union located in Luxembourg.
Heikensten has held many international positions, such as being a member of the EU Monetary Committee, the General Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Board of Directors of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), as well as Swedish Governor at the International Monetary Fund. He has also held many board positions in companies, university departments, "think-tanks" and government agencies. Besides, he has written several books, numerous articles in professional journals and participated actively in the Swedish and European economic policy debate. Since 2007 he has been Chairman of the Swedish Expert Group on Public Economics (ESO).
Heikensten has been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences since 2001, became an Honorary Doctor of Economics at Umeå School of Business in 2005 and has been awarded the H. M. The King's Medal at the highest level.
- Lars Heikensten to Succeed Michael Sohlman as Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation http://nobelprize.org/press/nobelfoundation/press_releases_archive/2010/director.html
- Sveriges Riksbank: Direktionens ledamöter från 1999 och framåt ("Board members from 1999"), retrieved on February 3, 2010
- Eijffinger, Sylvester C. och Petra M. Geraats (2006). "How Transparent Are Central Banks?". European Journal of Political Economy 22. pp. 1–21.
- Kungl. Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien: Heikensten, Lars, retrieved on February 3, 2010