Bonus founder removed from Icelandic supermarket board

The co-founder of Iceland’s Bonus supermarkets, Johannes Jonsson, has been removed from the board of Hagar following a decision by Arion Bank that both parties’ best interests are no longer served by working together.

Jonsson and his son Jon Asgeir Johannesson founded Bonus, which would later merge with Hagkaup to become Hagar and then become closely associated with Johannesson’s Baugur Group.

Following bankruptcy, Hagar came into the ownership of Arion Bank which took the surprise decision to keep Johannes Jonsson on the board and guarantee him the right to purchase ten percent of Hagar shares when the company re-lists on the stock exchange. Both decisions have now been reversed, however.

Arion took its decision because Jonsson is the founder of Bonus and knows the company extremely well – so well, in fact, that his usual nickname in the Icelandic media is Johannes from Bonus.

The terms of Jonsson’s departure are that he has a 12-month termination contract, a pay-off of ISK 90 million (USD 742,000) and may not go into competition against Hagar for at least 18 months.

Johannes Jonsson has also been permitted to purchase several of Hagar’s smaller shops at the going market rate. Those shops are Bonus in the Faroe Islands (Hagar’s only overseas property), and Top Shop, Zara and All Saints in Iceland. Despite an ongoing fight with cancer and severe business problems, Johannes has remained a regular and optimistic voice in the Icelandic media since the economic crisis.

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