Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog

Banque Havilland dismisses Magnus Gudmundsson

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Banque Havilland announced earlier today that Magnus Gudmundsson has been dismissed as the bank’s CEO. The move comes after Gudmundsson was remanded into custody in Iceland following an investigation into Kaupthing by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Iceland. Gudmundsson has been replaced by Jonathan Rowland who with his father David owns Havilland.

When the Rowlands, through Blackfish Capital, took over Kaupthing Luxembourg, following the collapse of Kaupthing Iceland it came as a surprise that they retained Gudmundsson though, as Jonathan Rowland said in an interview, they were keen to break with the past. Gudmundsson, Rowland said in another interview, would just continue to manage his people. The rumours about Kaupthing didn’t seem to worry the Rowlands. Nor did they change their mind when the Serious Fraud Office in London declared it had opened an investigation into Kaupthing. It was also clear that the bank was being investigated in Iceland.

From sources close to the bank I heard that the Rowlands had initially intended to move away from everything Icelandic, both Icelandic clients and staff. However, they soon discovered that there were good Icelandic clients who fitted well the new owners’ target clients, i.e. wealthy individuals. They were also happy with Gudmundsson’s talents, thought he had done a good job for the bank and would be valuable, at least while the bank’s operation was stabilised.

Because of this continuity it was rumoured that Kaupthing’s executive chairman Sigurdur Einarsson, and possibly other key owners, was linked to the new owners. However, this connection has always been flatly denied on both sides. Havilland is the administrator of Kaupthing’s bankrupt part and have not shown any mercy in its dealings with the bank’s debtor. No sooner had the Rowlands taken over the bank than Havilland stripped Jon Asgeir Johannesson of his private jet. It’s also reported that other wealthy Icelanders, among them Lydur and Agust Gudmundsson owners of Exista Kaupthing’s largest shareholder, have their property loans and other private loans with the bank and that the bank will is preparing to take assets when payments can’t be met.

In view of the latest events it’s understandable that Havilland has now dismissed Gudmundsson – but it’s much harder to understand why Gudmundsson was ever appointed Havilland’s CEO.

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Written by Sigrún Davídsdóttir

May 7th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Iceland

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  1. […] custodial sentence of 12 days over ex-CEO of Kaupthing Hreidar Mar Sigurdsson and 7 days over Magnus Gudmundsson ex-manager of Kaupthing Luxembourg and manager of Banque Havilland until last […]

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