Margrethe Vestager is a corporation’s worst nightmare.
The antirust enforcer recently ordered Apple to pay up to
€13 billion in taxes, as part of a broader crackdown on tax avoidance in the Eurozone. Past campaigns include Starbucks in the Netherlands and Amazon in Luxembourg.
“Europe is open for business, if you want to do business, but maybe not so open if you want to come for tax avoidance,” she said on Bloomberg TV Tuesday.
By slamming Ireland for providing illegal incentives to Apple, Vestager is likely to ignite one of the world’s biggest tax disputes and strain relations between Europe and the US.
Vestager graduated with a M.S. in economics at the University of Copenhagen in 1993, and then took a job at the Danish ministry of finance. At age 30, she was appointed minister for education and ecclesiastical affairs, before becoming a member of parliament with the Social Liberal Party, known as Radikale.
At age 39, she became the political leader of the Social Liberal Party, before becoming European Union Competition Commissioner in 2014.
She has waged high-profile battles against multinationals. She has launched her third set of antitrust charges against Google, with the latest on the internet giant’s advertising business. She’s also turned her fire on Russian energy giant Gazprom for unfair pricing in Eastern Europe.
She favours ambassadors who “truly embrace social media,” and frequently tweets about case rulings and the current political state. She lamented Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and lauded Hillary Clinton as the first female presidential nominee.
Vestager is also known for her punchy wit. When her opposition slammed her spending plan, Vestager expressed caution toward “any judgment on size from men,” according to a profile by The Financial Times’ Christian Oliver and Alex Barker.