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Firing of ON Power’s CEO a “Sign of the Times”

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Firing of ON Power’s CEO a “Sign of the Times”

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Photo: Golli

Bjarni Már Júlíusson, the CEO of ON Power has been fired for improper conduct toward his colleagues, RÚV reports. According to an announcement issued by the company, Þórður Ásmundsson will take over as interim CEO for the time being.

ON Power is a subsidiary of Reykjavík Energy, an Icelandic utilities company whose majority owner is the City of Reykjavík. Although the nature of Bjarni Már’s actions were not explicitly stated, the announcement said that they were “taken seriously by ON Power management.” The day before Bjarni Már was fired, however, a Facebook post written by former communications director for the City of Hafnarfjörður Einar Bardarson alluded to the inappropriate behavior. “Are we absolutely sure there was a Me Too movement here this winter?” the post began.

“I met a remarkable man today, or rather, an unremarkable one. He’s the CEO of a large corporation, with a [CEO under him] who manages a number of entities for him. He revealed to me that he thinks it’s okay for a manager on his watch to send pornographic emails to female subordinates on Saturday nights...” The post continued to say that the man in question routinely referred to women in crass and misogynistic terms, and spoke crudely to them in front of their colleagues. “Would you be satisfied having a man like this work for you?” the post concluded. “What would you do if he was working for you?”

The post led to a great deal of speculation about who the CEO and offending manager were, until eventually it was confirmed that Einar was writing about Bjarni Bjarnason, the CEO of Reykjavík Energy, and his subordinate and the now-former CEO of ON Power, Bjarni Már Júlíusson.

Þórdís Lóa Þórhallsdóttir, president of the executive board for the City of Reykjavik, was asked by reporters whether she thought a situation of this nature would have been similarly dealt with five to ten years ago. “I naturally would like to be able to answer that the response would have been the same...but I’m afraid that it wouldn’t have. That’s to say, I think the Me Too movement has opened all of our eyes a bit about what kind of social problems we’re fighting against and I think that this is kind of a sign of the times now.”

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