Björn Wahlroos

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Björn Wahlroos
Björn Arne Christer Wahlroos

(1952-10-10) 10 October 1952 (age 70)
Helsinki, Finland
EducationDoctor of Economic Sciences (1979)
Alma materHanken School of Economics
Board member ofSampo Group, chairman
UPM-Kymmene, chairman
SpouseSaara Wahlroos (m. 1977)
Parent(s)Bror Wahlroos
Marita Wahlroos

Björn Arne Christer "Nalle"[1] Wahlroos (born 10 October 1952 in Helsinki, Finland) is a Swedish-speaking Finn, best known as a banker, investor and the chairman of the Board in Sampo Group and UPM-Kymmene.[2][3] Before switching to banking Wahlroos worked as a professor at the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, from which he also holds a Doctorate in Economics.[4]

In terms of political economical viewpoint, Björn Wahlroos is known as a defender of laissez-faire economics, a fighter against Keynesian economics and economic regulation. His views against government interference and regulation has prompted criticism and controversy throughout the years, as despite Wahlroos' wealth, he has collected hundreds of thousands of euros in Finnish agricultural subsidies.[5]

He owns a mansion in Salo in Finland and a second mansion in Nice in France in addition an apartment in Stockholm. Wahlroos has also published several books on economics and the Finnish economy.

His father Bror "Bunta" Wahlroos was chief of staff in the Ministry of Trade and Industry. His mother, Marita Wahlroos, is a long-time friend of Martti Ahtisaari, president of Finland (1994–2000) and they both worked in Africa.

Personal life and family[edit]

Wahlroos' father Bror "Buntta" Wahlroos (1928-2007) was a well-known economist, who worked at the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry from the 1960s until his retirement in 1993. Bror Wahlroos was the Chief of Staff of the ministry for a total of 23 years.[6] Wahlroos' mother, Marita Wahlroos also held a master's degree in economics. Marita Wahlroos worked as a teacher at a business school in Helsinki for several years. After Marita divorced Bror, she worked in numerous African countries in the developmental aid sector.[7]

Björn Wahlroos married Saara Wahlroos in 1977. They have two children, Nina Wahlroos-Grader (b. 1977) and Thomas Wahlroos (b. 1979).[8] Wahlroos has transferred sums of his wealth to his children, partially to avoid the Finnish inheritance tax and other taxes.[8]


After graduation from the gymnasium Nya svenska samskolan 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 in Helsinki and as a visiting professor at Brown University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Illinois, United States.[9]

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 the Union Bank of Finland. 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. Between 2011 and 2019 he was chairman of the board of Nordea.[4]

Wahlroos is also chairman of the Board of UPM-Kymmene, the pulp and paper manufacturer.[10]

In late 2022, Wahlroos transferred the ownership in his main investment companies, worth c. EUR 130m, to his children, in preparation for his planned retirement from daily business activities.[11]


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 leftist politics in 1973. After this he has withdrawn from active party politics although he is a paying member of the Swedish People's Party. He has nevertheless given public comments that give an indication of his thoughts.

In 2001, he declared himself in favour of a citizen's income in Finland.[12] "Basic security, in my mind, must never be threatened because it is an important part of human modern society", Wahlroos said in the Finnish newspaper Uutispäivä Demari, clearing way to negative income tax thinking. In March 2009 Wahlroos predicted that the economic recession would not endure for long, because the market corrects itself quickly. In March 2010, in an interview in Image magazine, he spoke of the need to cut Finnish development aid because "we have 50 years of money thrown into a bottomless well". In addition, he has criticized giving grants to university students because it, according to Wahlroos, "supports idleness", and regards 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 cannot be taxed in the future in the current fashion, and poverty and broken families are unsustainable. Wahlroos also 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. (...) to developing countries at the same time ... when the EU is to abolish agricultural subsidies and open tariff barriers on agricultural products." At the same time he receives remarkable agricultural subsidies himself.

In 2015 Wahlroos published a book defending his laissez-faire economics viewpoint, De tio sämsta ekonomiska teorierna. Från Keynes till Piketty (The ten worst economic theories: From Keynes to Piketty).[13] In the book he argues, for instance, that stable economic development is difficult to implement in a democratic social system.

Wahlroos is a member of Libera, a foundation organized under Mont Pelerin Society.


In the Finnish Defence Forces, Wahlroos holds the rank of major in the reserves.

Books published[edit]

Wahlroos, Björn: Markkinat ja demokratia. (Otava, 2012) ISBN 978-951-1-25176-7

Wahlroos, Björn: Talouden kymmenen tuhoisinta ajatusta. (Otava, 2015) ISBN 978-951-1-28592-2

Wahlroos, Björn: Kuinkas tässä näin kävi? (Otava, 2019) ISBN 978-951-1-35459-8

Wahlroos, Björn: Barrikaadeilta pankkimaailmaan (Otava, 2021) ISBN 978-951-1-41751-4


  1. ^ "Kirjallisuus | Björn Wahlroos kirjoittaa omat muistelmansa – "Itsestäänselvyys, ainakin jos on saanut elää keskimääräistä tapahtumarikkaamman elämän"". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 2021-03-22. Retrieved 2023-03-29.
  2. ^ Finnish business magazine story on Wahlroos (in finnish) Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Pietiläinen, Tuomo (24 March 2011). "Björn Wahlroos Nordean hallituksen puheenjohtajaksi". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 26 March 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Björn Wahlroos". (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  5. ^ HS, Juha-Pekka Raeste (2013-01-31). "Björn Wahlroos sai 262 630 euroa maataloustukea". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  6. ^ Taloussanomat-STT (2007-01-12). "Bror Wahlroos kuollut". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  7. ^ Okkonen, Katja (2021-10-14). "Tällainen oli Björn Wahlroosin nuoruus – kertoo muistelmissaan onnittelusähkeestä Fidel Castrolle". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  8. ^ a b "Näistä Wahlroosin perilliset tunnetaan: Vahinkolaukaus, pokerirahoja ja kaahausta". (in Finnish). Retrieved 2022-01-23.
  9. ^ Paavilainen, Ulla, ed. (2014). Kuka kukin on: Henkilötietoja nykypolven suomalaisista 2015 [Who’s Who in Finland, 2015] (in Finnish). Helsinki: Otava. p. 969. ISBN 978-951-1-28228-0.
  10. ^ Forum, Nordic Business. "Björn Wahlroos - Nordic Business Forum Helsinki 2021". Nordic Business Forum. Retrieved 2022-01-23. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  11. ^ "Björn Wahlroos siirsi lapsilleen liki 130 miljoonan euron edestä omistuksiaan". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 14 December 2022. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Citizen's Income supported by top businessman".
  13. ^ Wahlroos, Björn: De tio sämsta ekonomiska teorierna: Från Keynes till Piketty. Albert Bonniers Förlag, Stockholm, 2015. ISBN 978-91-0-014900-0.


External links[edit]