Anne Berner

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Person.png Anne Berner   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Anne Berner.jpg
Helsinki, Finland
NationalitySwiss, Finnish
Alma materHanken School of Economics
Children3 sons
SpousePekka Karkkolainen
Member ofWallenberg Sphere
PartyCentre Party
Single Bilderberger Finnish politician. Now works for the Wallenberg family.

Employment.png Member of Finnish Parliament for Uusimaa

In office
20 April 2015 - Present

Anne-Catherine Berner is a Swiss-Finnish[1] business executive, board professional, and the former Minister of Transport and Communications. In 2015, Berner was elected Member of the Finnish Parliament as a non-attached candidate representing the Centre Party.[2][3] Berner uses Swiss German as her mother tongue within the family, and is fluent in Finnish, Swedish, German, English and French.[4]

Anne Berner has done a long career leading Vallila Interior, a family-owned interior design company.

Before her career in the Finnish Parliament, Berner was known for leading the New Children's Hospital 2017 project and for chairing the board of the New Children's Hospital Foundation.[5] Berner was also familiar through appearances in the television show Dragons' Den of Finland and Sweden.


Early life

Berner was born in Helsinki to a Swiss family. She was the first of four children. She spent her childhood in Helsinki and attended a German school for twelve years. Berner's background was modest, living in a small apartment and sharing the same room with her three brothers. Anne Berner had an interest in medicine at a young age when she became acquainted with the pathological institute as a summer worker. She got her apprenticeship from Zurich Medical University but returned to Finland after her mother became ill. Obligations to take care of the mother first and later to the family company, made Berner settle in Finland.[6]

She completed a Master of Science in Economics at Hanken and first received a fixed-term work permit to work at their family company, Vallila Silkkitehdas Osakeyhtiö.[7] Berner was the ninth employee of the company, which turnover at that time, in 1986, was FIM 22 million.[8] At the beginning of her family business career, Berner has told that she has traveled 70,000 kilometers a year to sell fabrics to architects.[9][10]

Business career

In 1989 Berner became the managing director of Vallila Interior, succeeding her father Rudolf Berner. She became chair of the company in 2012. During her time as CEO, Vallila grew in size from about 10 people to more than 140 employees in 2014.

In addition to her family-based business, Berner has done a long career as a board professional on several publicly listed Finnish and international companies, such as Soprano plc, Kährs Holding AB and the mutual pension insurance company Ilmarinen.[10]

Berner's organizational career include chairing the Finnish Family Firms Association 2005–2008, the Association for Finnish Work as chairman between 2010–2013 and 2013–2015, and the European Family Businesses 2011–2015 as member of the board.[10]

Berner has also participated as a venture capitalist on Finland's and Sweden's versions of the television show Dragons' Den.[11][12]

In 2006, Berner received the Prix Veuve Clicquot, as the Finnish businesswoman of the year.[13] The Finnish Businessmen's Association named her in 2009 as the businessman of the year. In 2014, Berner was given the order of Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland by the President of the Republic.[14]

Anne Berner was appointed to the board of directors of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, a financial group controlled by the influential Wallenberg family in March 2019.[15]

As CEO for Vallila Interior

In 1986, Anne Berner started a new project design business through Vallila Interior Contracting Oy and three years later, in 1989, she became CEO of the company at the age of 25. The parent company was renamed Vallila Interior and, under Berner's leadership, the company was given contracts for public buildings. The company carried also out decorations for cruisers, including the curtains of all cabins of the Oasis cruise ship built at STX's Turku shipyard. In 2008, Berner was responsible for furnishing the three SOK-owned hotels inSt. Petersburg. In Russia, Vallila Interior has implemented hotel and restaurant projects since 1992.[16][17][18]

The New Children's Hospital 2017

As a launch pad for entering politics, Berner was best known as the public face and leader of a charity project to build a new children's hospital in Helsinki. The new children's hospital was formally scheduled for completion in 2017, in time to commemorate the centenary of Finnish independence. Berner serves on the hospital's support association, support foundation as chair from 2012 to present.[10][19][20]

Political career

Berner was elected into the Finnish Parliament for Uusimaa in 2015 as a nonpartisan (normally meaning business-friendly) candidate for the Centre Party of Finland. She was then appointed to the Sipilä's government, as the Minister of Transport and Communications in May 2015. Upon appointment to the government, she took the Centre Party membership. Berner's duties also included acting as the minister for Nordic Cooperation and the minister for Åland Islands affairs.[21][22][23]

Berner's political views has been described as influenced by classical liberalism, with a strong belief in the value of entrepreneurship and responsible ownership. Berner has told that she'll only serve for four years in public office—one Finnish parliament election cycle.[24]

Minister of Transport and Communications

During her ministerial term, the organisation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and the entire branch of government was reformed to address to the changes in transport and communications.[25]

One of her key political projects was a comprehensive legislative reform regulating the transport sector market, brought under one umbrella in the Transport Services Act. The Act combines legislation on transport markets and creates conditions for digitalisation and new business models in transport, including, among other things, seamless, multimodal travel chains. The reform entered into force on 1 July 2018.[26][27]

Berner's responsibilities in Sipilä's Government included deregulation, which was one of the Government's key projects.[28] The Postal Act, the Driving Licence Act, the Road Traffic Act, the Highways Act, the Private Roads Act, and the Vehicle Inspection Act have also been revised during the Government term. The efficiency of transport has been improved and studies have been made relating to the introduction of passenger cars with speed limiters and the revision of regulation concerning snowmobiles. Revisions made to the Code for Information Society and Communications Services and licences regulation have relaxed especially the regulation of television and radio broadcasting. A new Rail Transport Act and an overall reform of the Waterborne Transport Act are also under preparation.[29]

During her term in the Government, Minister Berner did actively promote work against climate change, and pushed for making Finland's transport sector carbon-free by 2045, in line with Bilderberg policy[30][31][32][33]

Berner has been actively involved in the FinEst Link initiative, which aims to develop mobility between Helsinki and Tallinn; the project looks into the economic preconditions and impact of the proposed Helsinki–Tallinn railway tunnel, for instance.[34]

On May 29 2019, Berner was released from her position as minister, due to her duties at the board of directors of the Wallenbergs' SEB Group starting in June 2019. She was succeeded by Anu Vehviläinen.[35][36]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/20171 June 20174 June 2017US
The 65th Bilderberg Meeting
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  10. a b c d
  23. Kaleva: Keskusta paljasti ministerit - ympäristöministerin salkku maa- ja metsätalousministerille
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