Steen pension will not be changed

The board of Systembolaget has decided not to renegotiate managing director Anitra Steen's pension deal.

“We have already renegotiated it – it was financially favourable for Systembolaget,” said chairman Olof Johansson in a statement.

“The company did not pay anything for the changes which were made then. We stopped the cost expansion in a wealth based system. This happened with the full understanding of the managing director.”

Anitra Steen, who is married to prime minister Göran Persson, was given a new pension deal as part of her remuneration package in 2002. But since then, the government has introduced tougher rules for pensions offered to the heads of state-owned enterprises.

Despite the fact that Steen’s pension terms break those government guidelines, neither the government nor her immediate employer felt that the package should be renegotiated.

“Naturally I am satisfied that this issue can be put to one side and happy that we can focus on our work,” said Anitra Steen.

At the beginning of March the managing director of the state-owned mining company LKAB, Martin Ivert, faced the wrath of the government for his pension arrangement – one which was less favourable than that of Anitra Steen.

The Social Democrats’ party secretary Marita Ulvskog was fiercely critical of the fact that Ivert’s pension broke government regulations, and the Ministry of Industry decided that it would have to be renegotiated.

Earlier in the week, the Moderates’ party secretary, Sven Otto Littorin, said that the affair made Sweden look like a banana republic.

The fact that Systembolaget refused even to reconsider Anitra Steen’s pension while Ivert’s is to be changed is pure hypocrisy, said Littorin.

“It’s possible that they wouldn’t have managed to do anything about it, but not to even try – I think that’s bad,” he told TT.

“You could also say that it’s unfortunate that the prime minister’s best pal would negotiate with the prime minister’s wife.”

Littorin added that the government is entirely able to influence Systembolaget, if it wishes, since the state owns all the shares in the firm.

“[Finance minister] Östros makes a big deal of the fact that state ownership is good and that state management works, but it’s obviously only within certain limits,” said Littorin.

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TT/The Local