The Government Office committee responsible for appointing senior figures in the public service has selected Ulla Ilisson, who previously managed a variety of areas in Swedbank, to serve as the director of the Education and Youth Authority. The committee’s choice has been submitted to Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps for approval.
Committee member and Ministry of Education and Research Secretary General Mart Laidmets says he is pleased that the new authority will be headed up by a prominent figure from the private sector. “Ulla’s appointment is a real win for the public service,” he said. “Her knowledge and experience from the private sector will be of huge help in shaping a national authority that’s both modern and focused on citizens.” Laidmets added that the fields of youth and education are not new to Ilisson, as she is a member of the supervisory board of the Master’s programme in Business Management at TalTech, has been contributing to and chaired the supervisory board of the ‘Back to School’ initiative for the last five years and has also served on the supervisory board of the ‘Youth to School’ foundation.
For her own part, Ilisson views heading up a national authority, especially a new one, as a great challenge that comes with a lot of responsibility. “I want the authority to become an organisation that’s a partner to students, teachers, school directors, youth workers and local authorities, one that’s open, values cooperation and is focussed on success,” she explained. “That said, taking four separate institutions and binding them all together into one will be a time-consuming process, the results of which we’ll only see in the longer term.” Ilisson added that with her team she will be aiming to bolster Estonia’s excellent international reputation as an innovator and provider of digital solutions.
Ilisson oversaw retail banking, marketing and the adoption of digital services in Swedbank from 2005 before serving as a member of its management board from 2011-2016. Prior to that, she served as the director of a number of insurance companies and coordinated the marketing activities of Swedbank’s previous incarnation, Hansapank. She has a Master’s degree in Business Management from Tallinn University of Technology and is currently broadening her knowledge further in the management programme offered by the IESE Business School of the University of Navarra in Spain.
Ilisson will be taking up her post as head of the Education and Youth Authority in mid-August for a term of five years.