By Valentina Zarya
June 28, 2017

Valentina Zarya here, filling in for Claire this week.

Reading the headlines about Margrethe Vestager might lead you to believe that she’s technology companies’ worst nightmare. “The Bureaucrat Who Has Tech Terrified” reads one Fortune piece from 2015. A more recent Wired story pits her directly against the U.S.’s digital giants: “Europe vs Silicon Valley: Behind Enemy Lines With the Woman Deciding Google’s Fate.”

It’s true that Vestager, the European Commission’s antitrust chief, regulates commercial activity across Europe, making her one of the continent’s most powerful women. Vestager flexed that power Tuesday, hitting Google with a $2.7 billion fine—the biggest one ever imposed on a single company in an antitrust case. The search engine’s crime? Favoring some of its own shopping services over those of rivals.

Despite her power as commissioner, Vestager’s biographer Jens Thomsen has said that she tries hard to remind people of her humanity. With that in mind, here are a few interesting tidbits about Vestager, the woman:

  1. She grew up in a small town called Ølgod on Denmark’s west coast.
  2. Her parents were both Lutheran rectors; her father was a local politician in Denmark’s Social Liberal Party (SLP).
  3. She has been a professional politician since age 21, when she was appointed to the central board and executive committee of the SLP.
  4. She became Denmark’s education minister by age 30; she became party leader a decade later.
  5. She has been considered by Danish media and pollsters as the most powerful person in their government.
  6. Her love of knitting and baking is a major topic of discussion on Danish social media.
  7. Her husband, with whom she has three daughters, is a high school teacher.

@valzarya

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