Congratulations to the newly appointed CEO of Systembolaget, Magdalena Gerger http://www.svd.se/naringsliv/nyheter/artikel_2365505.svd#articlecomments who takes over from the former prime minister’s wife Anitra Steen on May 1st.
The differences between Anitra and Magdalena say a lot about the way Sweden has changed since the new centre right government came to power. Anitra was a career public servant, during her tenure became married to the Prime Minister and Social Democrats political appointment without any retail or private sector experience. Under Anitra’s 10 year reign 99 store managers were found guilty of taking bribes from Systembolaget’s suppliers and not one senior executive lost their job to take responsibility.
Appointed by the new centre right government, Magdalena has an impressive consumer products, private sector and even alcohol industry resume that would make her suitable for a deregulated alcohol retailer let alone a monopoly. She is quoted as saying that she does not expect to make many changes which sounds like typical new CEO diatribe given how different she is from her predecessor and the enormous experience she brings to the job. If the board did not want to change things they would not have appointed such an experienced and accomplished successor to Mrs. Persson. Given that only half of Swedes support the monopoly and contrary to what SVD mentioned in their interview with her (Du som kommer från det privata näringslivet, känns det skönt att slippa konkurrenter? Coming from the private business sector, does it feel good to not have competitors?) Magdalena will need all her impressive marketing and management skills.
Congratulations Sweden, in the words of the 44th US President, This is the change we need!