Arla exec to take over as head of Systembolaget

Sweden’s state-run liquor monopoly Systembolaget has named a successor to Anitra Steen, who is set to retire from her position as managing director on April 30th.

Arla exec to take over as head of Systembolaget

In finding a successor for Steen, the wife of former Prime Minister Göran Persson, Systembolaget plucked 44-year-old Magdalena Gerger, a senior vice president, from Scandinavian dairy giant Arla Foods.

“We all have a relationship to Systembolaget, which gives a face to Swedish alcohol policy,” said Gerger in a statement.

“It feels really exciting to be a part of the company’s continued development.”

In assuming the reigns from Steen, who ran Systembolaget for the past decade, Gerger stressed the importance of the company’s social duty.

“Systembolaget is a well-run company with an important mission to both be socially responsible and provide good service,” she said.

Prior to her work at Arla, Gerger held positions at Nestle and Procter & Gamble. She also serves on the board of directors of Ikea and is a former director with Swedish gaming monopoly Svenska Spel.


Swedes warned: Vodka won’t protect you from the coronavirus

Sweden's state-run alcohol chain Systembolaget has advised customers not to buy its spirits as a substitute for hand sanitiser.

Swedes warned: Vodka won't protect you from the coronavirus
Stockholmers queuing outside Systembolaget before Easter. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

One of the best ways of avoiding the new coronavirus and prevent its spread is to wash your hands often with soap and water, according to the Swedish Public Healh Agency.

If you don't have access to soap or running water, hand sanitiser is the next best option, but the product has been flying off the shelves as shoppers try to get their hands on a bottle.

Sweden's state-owned alcohol chain Systembolaget has been forced to put up signs in several of its stores informing customers that alcohol such as vodka and gin does not work as a substitute for hand sanitiser.

“NOT HAND SANITISER,” read the signs.

“We have had a few questions from customers and have put up signs in those stores,” said Systembolaget press officer Therese Elmgren.

“But it is not possible, just as the signs say. The percentage (of alcohol) needs to be higher.”

An alcohol concentration of at least 60 percent is needed for disinfectant to be effective in killing viruses or bacteria. Absolut Vodka, to use an example of a popular Swedish vodka brand, has an alcohol concentration of 40 percent.

However, some of the ingredients are the same, and during the coronavirus crisis Absolut has adapted parts of its manufacturing in order to produce pure alcohol which can be used for cleaning purposes, instead of vodka for consumption. This pure alcohol then needs to be mixed with gel, manufactured separately, to create usable sanitiser for the healthcare sector.