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Our Managers

Chairman

Brynjólfur Bjarnason

Brynjólfur was born in 1946. He was first elected as a Director at a shareholders’ meeting on 20 November 2014. He is not a shareholder in Arion Bank and is an independent Director. Brynjólfur is Chairman of the Board, and sits on the Board Remuneration Committee, the Board Credit Committee and the Board Audit Committee.

Brynjólfur graduated with an MBA from the University of Minnesota in 1973 and a cand. oecon. degree in business studies from the University of Iceland in 1971.

He was managing director of the Enterprise Investment Fund from 2012 to 2014. Between 2007 and 2010 he was the chief executive officer of Skipti. Brynjólfur was chief executive officer of Síminn from 2002 to 2007 and chief executive officer of Grandi hf. from 1984 to 2002. Between 1976 and 1983 he was managing director of the publisher AB bókaútgáfa. He was also head of the economics department of VSÍ from 1973 to 1976. Brynjólfur has broad experience as a director and has served on numerous boards and been chairman of several.

Brynjólfur is an Alternate on the Board of Fergusson ehf. and a board member of Marinvest ehf. og ISAL hf.

Vice Chairman

Paul Horner

Paul was born in 1962. He is not a shareholder in Arion Bank and is an independent candidate. Paul is Chairman of the Board Credit Committee and member of the Board Risk Committee and the Board Audit Committee.

Paul graduated with M.A. Honours in music from the University of Oxford in 1983 and is an associate of the UK Chartered Institute of Bankers.

Paul has extensive experience of Risk and General Management in Retail, Commercial, Investment and Private Banking, gained across various International markets

Paul held various Executive and Risk Management roles at Barclays PLC between 1988 and 2003. In 2003 Paul joined The Royal Bank of Scotland Group and served as an Executive and Senior Manager of Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and was appointed to various senior Risk and General Management Roles until June 2019.

In 2012 to 2017, Paul was the Chief Risk Officer of Coutts & Co Ltd. and CEO of Coutts & Co Ltd, Zurich, in 2016-2017. In 2018 Paul was a Director of Risk at Ulster Bank DAC, Dublin, and is presently a Non-Executive Director at Coutts & Co Ltd. in Zurich. Paul also serves as on the board of AIB Group P.L.C and is member of the AIB audit committee, operational resilience committee and chairs the risk committee.

Director

Gunnar Sturluson

Gunnar was born in 1967. He was first elected as a Director at a shareholders’ meeting on 9 August 2019. He is not a shareholder in Arion Bank and is an independent Director. Gunnar is Chairman of the Board Audit Committee and is a member of the Board Credit Committee and the Board Risk Committee.

Gunnar graduated as Cand. Jur from the University of Iceland in 1992, an LL.M. degree in Law from the University in Amsterdam in 1995 and received a license to practice for the District Court in Iceland in 1993 and for the Supreme Court in 1999.

Gunnar practiced law at a Málflutningsskrifstofan, law office, in 1992-1999 and became partner in 1995. He joined Logos Legal Services in 2000 as a partner and was managing partner in 2001-2013. Gunnar lectured in competition law in 1995-2007 at the University of Iceland Faculty of Law.

Gunnar has held various directorships, among them, Board of Directors at Gamma hf. in 2017-2019, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) 2016-2017, Director at the Nordic Arbitration Center, President of the International Federation of Icelandic Horse Associations, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Icelandic Dance Company 2013-2016 and was voted by the Icelandic Parliament to serve on the National Electoral Commission in 2013-2017.

Director

Liv Fiksdahl

Liv was born in 1965. She was first elected as a Director at Arion Bank’s Annual General Meeting on 20 March 2019. She is not a shareholder in Arion Bank and is an independent Director. Liv is chairman of the Board Remuneration Committee and the Board Tech Committee and member of the Board Audit Committee.

Liv holds a degree in Finance and Management from Trondheim Business School (today NTNU) in 1986. In 2018, Liv completed programs at Stanford University in Big Data, strategic decisions and analysis, and the Innovative Technology Leader. She has also completed an Advanced Management Program for executives in management, innovation and technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Liv is a Vice President (associated) within Financial Services at Capgemini Invent, Norway, and serves on the boards of Posten Norge AS and Intrum AB. Liv has held various senior roles at DNB and was part of the executive management team for 10 years, and her most recent role was as the Group EVP, CIO/COO, for IT & Operations. Liv has a broad experience from DNB and has held different positions across the value-chain within the bank. Before DNB she had Key Account roles for corporate clients within Danske Bank/Fokus Bank, and Svenska Handelsbanken. Liv has served on numerous boards, including Scandinavian Airlines SAS AB, BankAxept, Sparebankforeningen, Doorstep, Finans Norge and Trondheim Kommune Bystyret.

Director

Steinunn Kristín Thórdardóttir

Steinunn was born in 1972. She was first elected as a Director at a shareholders’ meeting on 30th November 2017. She is not a shareholder in Arion Bank and is an independent Director. Steinunn is chairman of the Board Risk Committee and a member of the Board Remuneration Committee and the Board Tech Committee.

Steinunn holds a master’s degree in international management from Thunderbird, Arizona, and a BA in international business and politics from University of South Carolina.

Steinunn was previously a partner and CEO of Beringer Finance Norway in 2015-2017 and interim CEO of Beringer Finance in Iceland and global head of food and seafood in 2017. She founded Akton AS, a management consulting company in Norway in 2010, where she worked as a managing director until 2015. Steinunn worked at Íslandsbanki (later Glitnir) as executive director of International Corporate Credit and later as managing director and head of the bank’s UK operations.

Steinunn has previously held several directorships in Europe and was a board member of the Icelandic State Financial Investment (ISFI). Steinunn is the chairman of the board of Acton Capital AS and Akton AS and a board member of Cloud Insurance AS. She is also a board member of the Norwegian-Icelandic Chamber of Commerce. Steinunn is a member of the nomination committee of Síminn.

Alternate Directors

  • Sigurbjörg Ásta Jónsdóttir, Lawyer
  • Thröstur Ríkhardsson, Attorney at Law

The Board of Directors has appointed Heimir Thorsteinsson, State Authorized Public Accountant, as a member of the Board Audit Committee.

Rules of Procedure for the Board of Directors

Board Committees

According to the Board’s Rules of Procedure, the Board is permitted to establish sub-committees to discuss particular areas of the Bank’s operations. No later than one month following the annual general meeting the Board appoints members to each of its subcommittees and assesses whether to appoint external members to certain committees, in order to bring in a greater level of expertise.

The Board has established four sub-committees: Board Audit Committee, Board Risk Committee, Board Credit Committee and Board Remuneration Committee. The Board has also setup a temporary ad hoc Board Tech Committee.

Board sub-committees establish their rules of procedure, which are confirmed by the Board, and regularly inform the Board of their activities. Furthermore, the Board has access to all material used by the sub-committees and their minutes.

Board Audit Committee (BAC)

The BAC´s main role is to contribute to the high-quality statutory auditing of the Bank and monitor the effectiveness of the Bank’s internal quality control, risk management systems and internal audit function, with regard to the Bank’s financial reporting. BAC members are Gunnar Sturluson, committee chairman, Brynjólfur Bjarnason, Liv Fiksdahl, Paul Horner and Heimir Thorsteinsson. The Board first appointed Heimir Thorsteinsson, State Authorized Public Accountant and external member, to BAC in July 2017.

Rules of Procedure for the Board Audit Committee

Board Risk Committee (BRIC)

The BRIC’s main role is to advise and support the Board regarding the monitoring of the Bank’s overall actual and future risk appetite and strategy, taking into account all types of risks, to ensure that they are in line with the business strategy, objectives, corporate culture and values of the Bank. The BRIC, furthermore, assists the Board in overseeing the implementation of the Bank’s risk strategy and the corresponding limits set. BRIC members are Steinunn Kristín Þórðardóttir, committee chairman, Gunnar Sturluson og Paul Horner.

Rules of Procedure for the Board Risk Committee

Board Credit Committee (BCC)

The BCC’s main role is to attend to credit issues which exceed the credit limits of its sub-committees. BCC members are Paul Horner, committee chairman, Brynjólfur Bjarnason and Gunnar Sturluson. The Rules of Procedure for the Board Credit Committee are not published.

Board Remuneration Committee (BRC)

The BRC’s main role is to prepare a remuneration policy for the Bank on an annual basis. It also advises the Board on remuneration to the CEO, Managing Directors, the Compliance Officer and the Chief Internal Auditor, and on the Bank’s incentive scheme and other work-related payments. BRC members are Brynjólfur Bjarnason, committee chairman, Herdís Dröfn Fjeldsted and Liv Fiksdahl.

Rules of Procedure for the Board Remuneration Committee

Board Tech Committee (BTC)

The Board of Directors has set up a temporary ad hoc Board Tech Committee to advice the Board of Directors and the Bank’s Senior Management on the Bank’s near to medium term development of the Bank’s IT function, including IT strategy. BTC members are Liv Fiksdahl, committee chairman, and Steinunn Kristín Þórðardóttir

Rules of Procedure for the Board Tech Committee

CEO

Benedikt Gíslason

Benedikt was born in 1974. Benedikt was appointed CEO 1 July 2019.

Benedikt joined FBA (later Íslandsbanki) in 1998, held a variety of managerial positions at Straumur-Burðarás, was managing director of capital markets at FL Group and managing director of the investment banking division of MP banki. Benedikt worked as a senior advisor for Iceland’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and was vice-chairman of a government task force on the liberalization of the capital controls between 2013 and 2016. He served on the board of directors of Kaupthing from 2016 to 2018 and was an advisor to Kaupthing on matters relating to Arion Bank. Benedikt was elected to the Board of Directors of Arion Bank in September 2018 and served on the board until his appointment as CEO.

Benedikt gained a C.Sc. in mechanical and industrial engineering from the University of Iceland in 1998.

Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Corporate & Investment Banking

Ásgeir H. Reykfjörd Gylfason

Ásgeir H. Reykfjörð Gylfason was born in 1982. He became Deputy CEO and Managing Director of Corporate & Investment Banking in September 2019.

Ásgeir joined the investment bank Straumur in 2004 and later became the group’s compliance officer. He then worked for the law firm LOGOS in Reykjavík and London from 2009 to 2012 and was chief legal officer at MP banki from 2012 to 2015. He was a member of the task force for capital account liberalization in 2015 and was managing director of the corporate division at Kvika from 2015 to 2019. Ásgeir taught in the faculty of law of Reykjavík University from 2010 to 2015 and has served on the boards of several companies in Iceland and abroad. 

Ásgeir is licensed to practise before the district court and graduated with a degree in law from Reykjavík University.

General Counsel

Birna Hlín Káradóttir

Birna Hlín was born in 1978. She was appointed General Counsel of Arion Bank in September 2019 and joined the Bank’s Executive Committee in June 2020.

From 2016 until joining the Bank, Birna Hlín was a partner and general counsel at Fossar. She was general counsel at Straumur fjárfestingabanki from 2011 to 2015. Birna Hlín worked for Straumur-Burðarás Investment Bank hf. between 2007 and 2011 and was the company’s general counsel from 2009. She has taught financial market law at the Reykjavík University and the University of Iceland. She has served on the boards of directors of several companies in Iceland and abroad and is currently a board member of the Icelandic Bar Association. 

Birna Hlín has completed an Advanced Management Program at IESE Business School Barcelona and has a Cand. Jur. degree from the University of Iceland. She is a district court attorney and a licensed securities broker.

Managing Director of Retail Banking

Ida Brá Benediktsdóttir

Ida Brá was born in 1976. Ida Brá was appointed Managing Director of Retail Banking in July 2017.

Ida Brá has worked for Arion Bank and its predecessor since 1999 when she joined the research department. She has held various positions within the Bank including Head of a department within treasury and Head of Corporate Communications. Ida Brá was Managing Director of Investment Banking from 2016 to 2017.Ida Brá served on the board of numerous companies, including Ólafsfjördur savings bank, AFL – savings bank, Landfestar and HB Grandi hf. Ida is the vice chairman of the Board of Directors at Vörður tryggingar hf.

Ida Brá graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Iceland in 1999 and has a Master's in finance from the Erasmus Graduate School of Business. She is also a certified stockbroker.

Managing Director of Markets

Margrét Sveinsdóttir

Margrét was born in 1960. She was Managing Director of Asset Management at Arion Bank from February 2009 to September 2019 when she took on the position of Managing Director of Markets.

Between 2007 and 2009 she was head of financial institutions client relations at Glitnir. From 1990 to 2007 she was head of securities brokerage and advisory at Íslandsbanki Securities Ltd, later the asset management division of Glitnir. Between 1985 and 1988 she worked in the credit division of the Industrial Bank of Iceland. Margrét has served on a number of boards of directors, including: The Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund on behalf of SFF, Okkar Life Insurance and several funds in Luxembourg.

Margrét graduated with an MBA from Babson College in Massachusetts in 1990 and a cand. oecon. degree in business administration from the University of Iceland in 1986. She is also a certified stockbroker.

Chief Financial Officer

Stefán Pétursson

Stefán was born in 1963. He was appointed Chief Financial Officer at Arion Bank in August 2010. Stefan was interim CEO of Arion Bank from 1 May to 30 June 2019.

Stefán joined Landsvirkjun in 1991, first as head of funding and from 1995 as treasurer. He became chief financial officer of Landsvirkjun in 2002 and sat on the company’s negotiation committee with energy intense industry. While on leave from Landsvirkjun in 2008 he served as the CEO of the investment company HydroKraft Invest hf. From 1986 to 1989 Stefán worked as head of administration at the Icelandic Fisheries Laboratories Institute. Stefán has held a number of directorship positions and other positions of responsibility in recent years. He is currently a member of the board the Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund on behalf of SFF.

Stefán graduated with an MBA from Babson College in Massachusetts in 1991 and a cand. oecon. degree from the faculty of business of the University of Iceland in 1986.

Managing director of Information Technology & CTO

Styrmir Sigurjónsson

Styrmir was born in 1974. He was appointed Managing Director of Information Technology and CTO in March 2020.

Styrmir worked for Natera in the United States from 2009. Natera specializes in genetic testing and diagnostics and is listed on the NASDAQ CM. Since 2012 Styrmir held a number of managerial roles at the company and, since 2017, lead the company’s research and development team as senior vice president of R&D. Before joining Natera, Styrmir worked for Straumur Investment Bank, FL Group and Citi.

Styrmir has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford and a C.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iceland. 

Chief Risk Officer

Úlfar Freyr Stefánsson

Úlfar was born in 1981. He was appointed Chief Risk Officer in May 2020.

Úlfar joined the Bank’s Risk Management division in 2013 after having worked at Kaupthing since 2010, where his positions included Head of Risk Management. Úlfar was Head of Portfolio Risk at Arion Bank from 2013 to 2015, when he took over as Head of Balance Sheet Risk.

Úlfar has a doctorate and a master’s in mathematics from Georgia Institute of Technology. He also has a BSc in mathematics from the University of Iceland and is a certified securities broker.