Who would have no opinion on Björn Wahlroos.

He is seen as a wedge-eyed defender of the capitalist market economy system, but on the other hand he is admired and envied, especially for his business instincts and entrepreneurial abilities and enrichment.

In October, we will read what Björn Wahlroos thinks about Björn Wahlroos, among acquaintances about Nalle.

Wahlroos has kept a diary for the late 1980s, or 35 years.

He didn’t write things down every day.

- When something happened, I wrote.

When traveling, on a plane and usually in Swedish, Wahlroos says in an interview with Ilta-Sanomat.

According to Wahlroos, there is a huge amount of material, so huge that the memoirs appear in two parts.

The first part, From Barricades to the Banking World - Kinds of Diaries 1952–1992 (Ottawa) will be published in October.

Wahlroos wants to tell a story about the change and development of Finnish business life through various deals, deals, mergers and negotiations, but also something about his own life.

In Björn Wahlroos' study on Fabianinkatu in Helsinki, you can find valuable art such as Helene Schjerfbeck's watercolor work Sitting Girl.

Why memoirs right now?

- I have tried to delay them as much as possible.

According to Wahlroos, not all people can be pleased, and not everything can be flattered all the time.

That would be impossible for the story.

- Other people have bet on the wrong horse or behaved in a way that does not look good in retrospect.

I don’t like to bring people resentment.

The farther you go from events, the less resentment comes.

- But then there's the limit.

It’s in it at about age 70.

Human memory begins to decline in the elevator.

At that point, you should put things on paper.

My book is a compromise.

I did it as close to seventies as possible.


My book is a compromise.

I did it as close to seventies as possible.

Wahlroos, who now lives in Sweden, has been an influencer of the Finnish economy for four decades.

One of Finland's richest men is still the Chairman of the Boards of Sampo and UPM.

The doctoral and professor of economics who wrote his dissertation on price regulation was captured as the deputy managing director of the United Bank of Finland, SYP, in the mid-1980s.

He experienced the stock market hype of the late 1980s, the bank cherry, the recession, and the major ownership arrangements in banks and industry, and the rise of Nokia.

The time span of the book contains big decisions, but also lots of toes to fill and tooth cavities to fill.

No one needs to be afraid of the content of the book, but there are no reasons to hide the excesses, failures and brutal backstage of economic life, according to Wahlroos.

Relaxed going to 1960s Helsinki.

Pictured from left to right: Kjell Lindblad, Ulf Hindström, Björn Wahlroos, Henrik Langhoff.

Photo: Sture Boström

- I've cleaned up the adjectives I put in the original diaries.

Of course, insulting people is wrong.

I’d rather just be kind and bragging to everyone, but in just about every place it doesn’t work out.

That would distort history.

- I try to tell things the way they did then;

it means that the weight of some Finnish leaders will increase and others will decrease.


The weight of some Finnish leaders is rising and others are declining.

The book also covers Wahlroos’s youth, which, like many contemporaries, was marked by left-wing radicalism.

It was not just a fashion phenomenon, but Wahlroos’s radicalism was genuine and intense.

He was a member of the Finnish Communist Party's Skp, active in university politics and enjoyed himself among left-wing intellectual youth, including the later TV journalist and author Leif Salmén.

Wahlroos opposed the visit of the Persian shah so that he got into the tube.

In addition, he followed the occupation of the Old Student House in 1968 by a left-wing student movement as a porter.

Wahlroos, as a bank manager and a vivacious owner, has been reluctant to open up his radical years.

It has been asked in many interviews, but he has ignored the matter in vain and irrelevant.

Radical friends in 1969. Björn Wahlroos and later well-known TV journalist and author Leif Salmén in Helsinki in the Esplanadi Park in a demonstration by the Teen Federation against the Board of Education.

Photo: Caj Bremer

In some interviews, Wahlroos has been told about the embarrassment of his past.

Helsingin Sanomat's financial journalist Jyrki Iivonen described the situation in 1985 in an article interviewing Wahlroos, who had just been appointed deputy managing director of the commercial bank SYP: each year of the revolution brought green Nort to the forefront.

With this in mind, it is a bit surprising what Wahlroos is now answering the question about his radical years.

- If I look back, I wouldn't give up that time.

There is silence in Wahlroos's study.

Even Helene Schjerfbeck’s Crochet Girl (1904), who is handsome on the wall, growls in her ears.

One of the richest men in Finland hits more steam.

Wahlroos says he actually lived the peak years of his life in his radical years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

- The best times of my life.

I’m not saying it was the best time of my life, but yes it’s the top five on the list, maybe even the top three.


I’m not saying it was the best time of my life, but yes it’s the top five on the list, maybe even the top three.

After that, it should be clear that Wahlroos will have you with his radical past to the greatest extent possible.

Wahlroos says he learned a lot from his radical years.

He thinks nothing is as good as having to rethink his values ​​and life again.

- I learned to give speeches, it is claimed that I am still a good fire speaker.

I learned to write circulars and wall magazines, there were good teachers like Leif Salmén.

- But the moment the gang started coming to the meetings dressed in blue scout shirts, I left.

The blue shirts refer to militancy, far-leftism, which was grouped within the Skp around Taisto Sinisalo, the vice-chairman of the party.

Wahlroos makes a nest distinction for Soviet-era wars.

He left the camp of the left before the militants rushed into society for key positions in media, politics and cultural life.

Wahlroos does not consider himself an actual warrior.

In fact, averse fighting was precisely the reason why Wahlroos left the left.

Wahlroos recalls that when talking about left-wing radicalism in the 1960s, one must understand what kind of society one lived in.

Finland was a very value-conservative society with strange rules, such as the fact that women could not go to a restaurant alone.

The left-wing youth movement set out to change the structures of a value-conservative rule society, and the avalanche would also absorb the young Björn Wahlroos.

Björn Wahlroos as a young radical.

Now he says he considers his communist years at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s to be the best times of his life.

Björn Wahlroos did a dissertation on price regulation in two years.

I do everything in a hurry and quickly, he commented in an interview with Helsingin Sanomat in 1985. Photo: Erkki Laitila

Then came the sudden braking.

Contemporaries recall that Wahlroos' secession from the left took place quickly, within a few months in 1973.

Leftism and radicalism changed to a market economy and American economics, totally.

Wahlrooskin also recalls that the summer of 1973 went with a wide circle of friends in in-depth discussions about the relationship with left-wing ideology.


Almost everyone left the shop, except Lefa (Salmén), who stayed.

- Almost everyone left the shop, except Lefa (Salmén), who stayed.

- It didn't make his life happy.

Wahlroos had other reasons to break away from radicalism, especially one event that was very serious.

It tells, in part, how far the fighters were willing to go for their own idea.

About that a little later.


At some point, the loan market will say no.

Sometimes we talk about the Finnish economy.

In Wahlroos's opinion, there have been no joys in it in recent years.

When it gets underway, Wahlroos’s text is accustomedly harsh.

He wonders that debt is taken with grief, and now there is talk with a serious face that public finances, municipalities and the state, can become indebted indefinitely.

In Finland, the economy is taking a growth leap towards the peak of the business cycle, but despite this, about seven billion euros will be owed next year to support the state economy.

Wahlroos points out that creditors cannot be forgotten, they are there and as interest rates rise they can become even more expensive.

- At some point the loan market will say no.

Debt is taken because it is not possible to run society with tax money.

And here, according to Wahlroos, is a kind of black hole in Finnish long-term economic policy.

According to Wahlroos, Finland lost its time to raise its economy to growth years ago.

He talks about the time after the global financial crisis;

12 years of lost opportunity, and now the scapegoat is not only the board of Sanna Marin (sd), but also the line-ups led by Jyrki Katainen (kok) and Juha Sipilä (center) can look in the mirror.

No structural reforms have been made, neither in taxation nor in the labor market.

- At least a dozen years have passed in Finland, ever since Jyrki Katainen's board.

Katainen's government did not even try, Sipilä's government tried but failed, Marini's government does not even want to, because its activities are guided by a different government program and vision.


Zero growth is used, and it is dangerous in Wahlroos’s opinion.

Zero growth is used, and it is dangerous in Wahlroos’s opinion.

Former Professor of Economics Wahlroos calculates that due to zero growth, the state would have lost tens of billions of euros in tax revenue if annual economic growth had been even the EU average of 1.8 percent over the years wasted.

Wahlroos digs the exact number.

- EUR 40 billion.

It is missed every year.

Wahlroos highlights from Europe a country whose “kingdom” of economy should also be followed by Finland: Ireland.

About 30 years ago, Ireland decided to dramatically reduce taxation, hauling in foreign investment and business.

The result: Ireland has the fastest economic growth in the EU.

- Ireland has changed incredibly.

It is a prosperous country.

According to Wahlroos, Finland is following its own strange path in managing its economy.

They do not know how to invest in growth, but they do not really manage the distribution of money in Brussels like the countries of southern Europe, for example Italy.

- We have been chosen the worst road.

No growth strategy was sought and no hand went to Brussels.

It has to start with Rysylä or reform the economy, structures and taxation.

When you don’t do either, it’s not wise.


We are chosen the worst road.

No growth strategy was sought and no hand went to Brussels.

Wahlroos believes lost years of economic growth should awaken policymakers.

However, that is not the case.

The infrastructure of the economy and the whole debate about the economy is completely in the woods.

- We have a stone-set economic policy line and an economic policy debate, the majority of economists talk about post-Keynesian cyclical acidification.

When you read Finnish and foreign magazines side by side, you will notice that there is no proper discussion about the economy here at all.

Wahlroos' paint is familiar: the trade union movement.

- I sat in Yle's Ykkösaamu less than two years ago, when the previous round of contracts was underway.

The reporter asked me what exactly is being sought here.

I said that if the demands of the trade union movement are accepted, the mills will be closed, three or four paper machines will be closed.

It’s just a matter of the order in which they are closed.

- Unfortunately, a little more went.


We would like to maintain production in Finland.

Metsäjätti UPM's Chairman of the Board assures that the forest industry is trying to protect Finnish jobs, save jobs, even if factories and machines have to be closed.

- We would like to maintain production in Finland.

The raw material is close by and we would love to make pulp into further processed products.


- Our factories in Finland do not always survive competition with German factories.

According to Wahlroos, it's not just about wage costs, energy and logistics are also more expensive in Finland than in Germany.


Hakaniemi Market does not care about jobs, it only cares about working conditions.

- Hakaniemi Market does not care about jobs, it only cares about working conditions.

Wahlroos' UPM is at the forefront of a new contract system in the labor market.

The forest industry resigned from the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and does not enter into extensive, union-specific agreements.

According to Lumia Wahlroos last winter, the company-specific agreement is also.

UPM wants sectoral collective agreements within the company, in which the terms of employment reflect the profitability of the industry.

UPM has several industries;

pulp, paper, labels and energy.

- We want to negotiate different types of collective agreements for sectors that are growing and investing in than for sectors that will never have to build new machines again.

- Isn't this quite reasonable?

Wahlroos asks.

- At least a dozen years have passed in Finland, Wahlroos sums up the long line of the Finnish economy.

The first part of the book ends with the banking crisis and the recession years of the early 1990s.

The name of Wahlroos is mentioned when the culprits of the banking crisis have been sought.

In the late 1980s, he organized the holdings of bank giants against hostile cornerstones as SYP’s deputy CEO.

The arrangements are known as Kouri stores.

Concreting of holdings and conciliation of bank territory disputes led to large risk concentrations.

Ownership arrangements have been cited as one of the causes of the recession and the banking crisis, in which taxpayers eventually had to bail out banks stumbled on their credit losses with bank support.

This is what Wahlroos wants to correct.


The liberalization of the money markets and the casino years full of stock market hurts led to the structural change in the Finnish economy finally starting.

- The liberalization of the money market and the casino years full of stock market hurts led to the structural change in the Finnish economy finally starting.

They did not cause a recession, but it was caused by the policy of a stable mark and the collapse of Eastern trade.

Let's go back to the radical years.

Wahlroos talks about an episode or - as he says - a drop that made him decide that now there is enough action on the left.

From a drop that made the glass leak over.

Wahlroos' father was the legendary Bror Wahlroos, a colorful long-term Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who was well versed in the affairs of Finnish business.

Björn Wahlroos' father was Bror Wahlroos, long-time Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Photo: Matti Virtanen

An activist working in the martial arts asked Björn's son to obtain information about the working papers his father kept at home.

Who asked?

- It reads in my memoirs.

I won't tell you that here.

To that extent, however, he reveals that this is not a significant name in Finnish politics.

The purpose of the request remained a mystery.

Did the information have to be obtained for domestic political use or did the request come from abroad?

- The request could have come from Tehtaankatu, the Soviet embassy.

Wahlroos emphasizes that the radical years, and keeping them on display, have not bothered him “penny-like”.

To the question of the possible adverse effects of the communist years on career and life, a short answer drops, which is undeniably extremely easy to agree with.

- Does it look like that?


Björn Wahlroos

Age: 68

Family: Married, two children


  • Kauppatieteiden tohtori 1979

  • Kauppatieteiden maisteri 1975

  • Diplomiekonomi 1974

  • Hanken Svenska handelshögskolanin kansantaloustieteen professori ja vt. professori 1979–1985 ja liiketaloustieteen vt. lehtori ja apulaisprofessori 1974–1979

  • Vieraileva apulaisprofessori Yhdysvalloissa 1980–1981 ja 1983–1984

  • Suomen Yhdyspankin varatoimitusjohtaja 1989–1992, johtokunnan jäsen 1987–1988 ja johtokunnan varajäsen 1985–1987

  • Mandatum & Co Oy hallituksen varapuheenjohtaja ja CEO 1997–1998 ja toimitusjohtaja 1992–1997

  • Mandatum Pankki Oyj johtokunnan puheenjohtaja ja CEO 1998–2000

  • Sampo Oyj konsernijohtaja 2001–2009

  • UPM-Kymmene Oyj hallituksen puheenjohtaja 2008–

  • Mannerheim-Säätiön hallituksen jäsen 2007–

  • Elinkeinoelämän Valtuuskunta EVA:n hallituksen jäsen 2005–

  • Elinkeinoelämän Tutkimuslaitos ETLA:n hallituksen jäsen 2005–

  • Sampo Oyj:n hallituksen puheenjohtaja 2009–