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Former Sweden minister departs job over party controversy

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Former Sweden minister departs job over party controversy
Anders Borg. File photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/TT
13:32 CEST+02:00
Former Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg has left his job as Vice Chairman of investment firm Kinnevik.

Borg’s position on the company's board was untenable after accusations he used foul language and was aggressive towards other guests at a party, according to some commentators, while others have called the decision an overreaction by the firm’s board.

The ex-MP's two-and-a-half-year tenure with the company has been terminated with immediate effect in light of the reports, which emerged on Friday after tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet cited details from several anonymous sources at a party attended by Borg.

He has since been reported to police over the accusations, reports Aftonbladet.

Borg, a former Moderate politician who was Sweden's Finance Minister in the Fredrik Reinfeldt government between 2006 and 2014, released an apology on his official Facebook page on Friday following the reports.

He has since expressed his critical view of what he called “rumours” he acted inappropriately at the party, but has nonetheless chosen to leave his position with the finance company.

“In a situation of great media attention, I have decided to leave my post as Vice Chairman on Kinnevik’s board and as board member with Bima out of consideration for the companies,” Borg wrote in an email to news agency TT.

Contacted by TT, the host of the party at which Borg is alleged to have acted inappropriately declined to comment.

One reason for the decision to leave the company may be the difficulty with having a board member who has been reported to police and accused of sexual assault, Avanza economist Claes Hemberg told TT.

“There are many talented women who do not reach boards, directorial and CEO roles, and it may be very difficult to recruit these leading women if the company does not have a clear position in this and similar incidences,” Hemberg said.

The economist added that he believes the decision represents an important signal for future recruitment as well as for current employees, demonstrating that the Kinnevik board expects higher standards than for many others.

But Hans de Geer, professor of business ethics at the Stockholm School of Economics, thinks Borg’s departure is an overreaction by his former employers.

“It is a consequence of a media hunt, I would say, and enough for many boards to react in a knee-jerk manner and ask the person in question to leave,” he told TT.

“[Borg’s] ability to participate constructively in the work of the board at Kinnevik has not changed as a result of this story. So I think it’s an overreaction that’s difficult to understand based on objective views,” he added.

Hemberg agreed that Kinnevik would likely have preferred to retain Borg in light of the former minister’s knowledge and international experience.

It was also a “dream job” for Anders Borg, he said. 

READ ALSO: Former Swedish Finance Minister apologises for 'blackout' at party

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