News 6 Feb 2019

Erkki Virtanen, Johnny Åkerholm and Martti Hetemäki awarded the Eino H. Laurila national income medal

The Eino H. Laurila national income medal for 2018 has been granted to Erkki Virtanen, Master of Political Sciences, Johnny Åkerholm, Licentiate of Political Sciences and Martti Hetemäki, Doctor of Political Sciences. The medals are granted in recognition of their active work in promoting the analytical use of national accounts and its application in preparation of economic policy.

Erkki Virtanen, Master of Political Sciences, has worked in important positions at the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. He began his career at Statistics Finland working with compilation of the national accounts and later in co-ordination tasks at the planning department. At the end of the 1970s, he transferred to the Budget Department at the Ministry of Finance, working with planning and development tasks, and somewhat later with budgetary matters for different ministries, progressing all the way to the position of Director General of the Budget Department. In 1998, he was appointed Permanent Secretary at what was then known as the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Erkki Virtanen retired from that same position at what had become the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment after 17 years of service.

Erkki Virtanen has been active on the boards of several state-owned companies and numerous committees and commissions. Over the years, he has given hundreds of speeches and lectures on industrial, economic and fiscal policy and also been an active interlocutor and writer on these subjects. Erkki Virtanen acted as Chair of the Advisory Board of Statistics Finland for many years and has contributed considerably to third-sector activity. 

Johnny Åkerholm, Licentiate of Political Sciences, has worked as an economist in the OECD and at the Bank of Finland. At the Bank of Finland, he also held the position of Head of the Central Bank Policy Department as well as Head of the Economics Department. In 1995, he held the position of Director General of the Economics Department at the Ministry of Finance and later served as Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs. In 2003, he was appointed Secretary General of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a couple of years later, he was appointed President and CEO of the Nordic Investment Bank, from which he retired in 2012.

Johnny Åkerholm has been a key figure in many EU committees and cooperation groups, for example, as President of the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Union. In Finland, he has held many positions of trust: he has worked as permanent expert to the Economic Council as well as advisor to the Finnish Chambers of Commerce and is still the Chair of the Board of the University of Vaasa.

Martti Hetemäki, Doctor of Political Science, began his career as researcher, Secretary and Director at the Economics Department at the Ministry of Finance. In 2003, he was appointed Permanent State Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and ten years later, Permanent State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance. In his work, Hetemäki has extensively used the calculation framework for national accounts in the analysis of the economy and preparation of economic policy.

Hetemäki is also active in several advisory committees and boards of directors; he is, for example, Chairman of the Board of the Finnish National Fund Sitra and Vice Chair of the Board of the Financial Supervisory Authority. For many years, he held the position of Chair of the expert group on national accounts and Chair of Statistics Finland’s Advisory Board.

The Eino H. Laurila national income medal is awarded in recognition of noteworthy work to advance national economy research and particularly the development and application of economic descriptive systems, and promote knowledge about them. A further aim of the medal is to nurture interaction between economic research and practical statistical work. Decisions about awarding of the medal are made by the Ekonomiska Samfundet i Finland, the Finnish Statistical Society, the Finnish Economic Association, Statistics Finland, and the Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation. The first medal was awarded to Professor Eino H. Laurila in 1993 for his extensive work on the development of Finnish national accounts.

Further information:
Director Ville Vertanen, Statistics Finland, +358 29 551 3343,
Senior Advisor Tuomas Rothovius, Statistics Finland, +358 29 551 3360;
email: firstname.lastname@stat.fi

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