Olofsson: let state companies decide CEO bonuses

Sweden's industry minister Maud Olofsson has said she wants to allow state-owned companies to pay bonuses to chief executives, arguing that pay packages for CEOs should be a question for boards of directors rather than for the government.

Bonuses for chiefs of state-owned companies were banned two years ago by the Social Democratic government. The move followed criticism that certain CEOs were being paid too much.

But Olofsson, who is also leader of the Centre Party, said in an interview published in Dagens Nyheter on Friday that the ban needed to be scrapped:

“We have to realise that these companies are on a market, and we have to recruit good CEOs,” she said.

Olofsson also told DN that she does not want to impose gender quotas on listed companies, a proposal that was put forward by the Social Democrats. She did say, however, that she would like to see equality on the boards of state companies.

The government, in which Olofsson is also deputy prime minister, has said it plans to sell some of Sweden’s 60 state-owned companies. The minister would on Friday not reveal which companies were for sale, but said that electricity generator Vattenfall and mining company LKAB would not be sold.