President visits HB Grandi fish plant
This morning Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson paid a visit to the HB Grandi processing plant at the Nordurgardur quayside in Reykjavík, where he spent time with the staff. This was the first in a series of visits the President is making around the country under the 'Trust our Foundations - Stand Together' slogan.
According to a statement from the President's office, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson will in the coming days visit workplaces, schools, co-operatives, communities and help centres. The emphasis is being placed on how, in spite of the present difficulties the country is experiencing, Icelanders can trust the cornerstones of the country's economy and community, and from there reach forward to a better future by making the most of the nations' resources and skills.
The meeting in HB Grandi's canteen was well attended with around 120 people listening to Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson's speech in both Icelandic and English - as there are some 20 different nationalities among the HB Grandi workforce. The President's speech touched many topics, but he stressed the importance of the seafood industry as a core industry and the source of much of the country's foreign exchange. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson used the occasion to express his gratitude for the work done by HB Grandi's staff, as many of them have decades of experience behind them in fishing and fish processing. The President added that as a young man, he had also worked in hanging up stockfish at the old Ísbjörn fish factory in Seltjarnarnes. HB Grandi has its origins with this company, as Grandi itself was the result of a merger between Ísbjörn and Bæjarútgerd Reykjavíkur, with the present company the result of a subsequent merger with Haraldur Bödvarsson.
After addressing the staff, the President took the time to speak to many of them personally.
This was followed by a meeting with the company's directors in which the economic situation and the country's particular difficulties were discussed. According to HB Grandi CEO Eggert Benedikt Gudmundsson, the President's visit to the factory was very worthwhile and he commented that he values highly the honour the President showed the company and its staff by taking the time to visit them in their own workplace.