Two Icelandic women picked to head banks

Oct. 13, 2008 at 6:46 PM
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REYKJAVIK, Ireland, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Two nationalized banks that helped push Iceland's economy to the edge of bankruptcy are to be taken over by two women, sources said.

Elin Sigfusdottir was put in charge of what is now called New Landisbank, while it was widely assumed Birna Einarsdottir would be named the new chief executive officer for New Glitnir, the Financial Times reported.

In Iceland, some are blaming the British government for the financial crisis, but others are blaming the banks for their aggressive expansions in recent years, the report said. One banker said Icelandic bankers, typically young and male, had "eyes … bigger than their stomachs" the Times reported.

"Now the women are taking over," one unnamed government official said. "It's typical," he said, "the men make the mess and the women come in to clean it up."

The banks, including a third nationalized bank to be called New Kaupthing, were expected to focus on domestic operations and sell their foreign assets.

Iceland's Prime Minister Geir Haarde, said "it's too early to tell," when the banks would return to foreign investments. When they did it would be different. "Not in the same big way as before," he said.

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