Disagreements with Swedish state behind Hintikka’s decision
In a dramatic move on Monday, Tapio Hintikka announced that he will resign from his position as Chairman of the Board at telecoms operator TeliaSonera. The resignation took effect immediately.
According to Hintikka, the reasons for his resignation were disagreements on the composition of the Board, as well as the fact that representatives of TeliaSonera’s largest shareholder, the Swedish state, had pressured him to leave his post.
“I thought I was in business, but I wound up in Swedish politics”, Hintikka stated.
Hintikka made up his mind when the Swedish state decided to reject his proposal for the composition of the new TeliaSonera Board. Hintikka received word of the Swedish state’s view on Friday.
Hintikka had proposed someone new for the Board with considerable international experience. According to Hintikka, this candidate was at first acceptable to the Swedish side, but they later informed him that the Swedish quota of four Board members could not be touched, so the new member would decrease the number of Finnish members.
In a compromise proposal the international candidate was dropped off the list, but Hintikka says even this proposal was ultimately rejected by the Swedish state. However, the Swedish Ministry of Employment, Industry and Communications denied this claim on Monday.
The Swedish members of the TeliaSonera Board maintain that Hintikka’s autocratic management style and focus on even the smallest details had created difficulties within the Board for a long time.
Berith Westman, the representative of Swedish white-collar employees on the Board, commented that Hintikka’s resignation was his smartest decision during his entire chairmanship.
The representative of Swedish service employees, Elof Isaksson, explained that Hintikka’s “macho management style” was behind the situation.
The Vice Chairman of the TeliaSonera Board, Carl Bennet, said that a new Finnish Chairman will hopefully be elected on Friday.
According to Bennet, the new Chairman could be one of the existing Finnish Board members: Professor of Finance Eva Liljeblom, Amer President and CEO Roger Talermo, or former Rettig President and CEO Tom von Weymarn .
Hintikka had chaired the Board ever since the merger of Telia and Sonera in 2002. He was due to continue as Chairman until 2005.