Tritonian seinä


The board of the University of Vaasa 2022–2025

Mari Kiviniemi, CEO, Finnish Commerce Federation (Chair)
Juha Kytölä, Chief Technology Officer, Wärtsilä (Vice-Chair)
Mervi Airaksinen, CEO, Microsoft Oy
Timo Aukia, CEO, Jaakko Aukia Oy
Marko Kohtamäki, Professor, University of Vaasa
Susanna Kultalahti, Post Doc Researcher, University of Vaasa
Elmo Paloniemi, Student, University of Vaasa (2024–2025)
Timo Rothovius, Professor, University of Vaasa
Tommi Sottinen, Professor, University of Vaasa
Markku Stenborg, Financial Advisor, Ministry of Finance
Marja Vettenranta, Supervisory Education Coordinator, University of Vaasa

Contact information
Secretary to the Board: University Lawyer Samu Leskinen
Contact person: Executive Assistant Emmi Karjaluoto / emmi.karjaluoto(at)

The duties of the board are provided for in section 14 of the Universities Act. The duty of the board is to:

  • decide on the main goals, strategy and principles of the university's operations and finances
  • decide on the university's operational and financial plan and budget and prepare financial statements
  • be responsible for the management and use of the university's assets, unless the board has delegated authority to the rector
  • manage the organization of accounting and financial control
  • approve agreements that are significant or fundamental to the operation of the university and issue statements on matters of fundamental importance to the university
  • approve the performance agreement with the Ministry of Education on behalf of the university
  • elect the rector or rectors and decide on their division of labour and dismiss the rector if there is an acceptable and justified reason for this, taking into account the nature of the task
  • approve the rules of procedure and other similar regulations concerning the general organization and decide on the operational structure of the university
  • make a proposal to the Ministry of Education to change the educational responsibility of the university
  • decide on the number of students to be admitted to the university

The Rector is responsible for the preparation, presentation and implementation of matters to be discussed by the board.

Information on the members of the board

Mervi Airaksinen

Mervi Airaksinen (born 1980) is the CEO of Microsoft Oy. She has a wide-ranging background of over 15 years in the technology sector, and she is specialised in business development. Airaksinen has served as the CEO of Cisco Finland and the Baltics, as well as the CEO of Also Finland. She serves on the boards of Vincit, Nordic Morning Group, and Learning Intelligence Group. She is also a member of the advisory board to the Digital Economy research platform of the University of Vaasa. Airaksinen holds a Master of Science in Economics.

Timo Aukia

Timo Aukia (born 1973) has a long career in the field of commerce. He is the CEO of Jaakko Aukia Oy. After graduation, he worked as a stock exchange reporter in Kauppalehti and subsequently joined his family business to become a clothing retailer. He has extensive experience in retail, digitalisation of business operations, as well as the media sector. Mr Aukia serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ilkka-Yhtymä Group and as a member of the Board of Directors of Liana Technologies. In addition, he has previously served as a member of the boards of directors of Leo Longlife and Alma Media. Mr Aukia is a Master of Science in Economics from the Helsinki School of Economics.

Mari Kiviniemi

Mari Kiviniemi (born 1968) is the CEO of the Finnish Commerce Federation. Mrs Kiviniemi had an impressive political career before becoming a professional director. She served as a Member of Parliament 1995–2014 and as the Prime Minister 2010–2011. In addition, she has served as the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development and the Minister for Public Administration and Local Government. Mrs Kiviniemi was appointed as Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD for two terms 2014–2018, after which she has worked as the CEO of the Finnish Commerce Federation. Mari Kiviniemi has extensive knowledge of the Finnish and the global economy. Mrs Kiviniemi is a Master of Political Science.

Marko Kohtamäki

Marko Kohtamäki (born 1977) is a strategy professor at the University of Vaasa, a visiting professor at the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden and USN Business School in Norway, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Oulu. He has also worked as a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford. Kohtamäki is a Doctor of Science (Economics) and a professor at the University of Vaasa since 2012. During his career, he has researched and developed the strategies and operations of both companies and public organisations.

Susanna Kultalahti

Susanna Kultalahti (born 1985) is a post doc researcher in the School of Management at the University of Vaasa and responsible for the bachelor’s degree programme in management. Kultalahti’s doctoral dissertation in management received an international Highly Commended Award in the annual Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards dissertation competition in 2016. Her dissertation was also granted the Research Act of the Year award at the University of Vaasa in 2016. For her teaching, she has received both domestic and international recognition. She has taught and supervised theses at the bachelor's and master's levels and worked in various administrative bodies, such as the management group of the School of Management and the Assurance of Learning working group for the AACSB accreditation. Kultalahti is a Doctor of Science (Economics) and a professional teacher.

Juha Kytölä

Juha Kytölä  (born 1964)  is the Chief Technology Officer of the Wärtsilä Corporation. Mr Kytölä has served as a member of the Board of the University of Vaasa 2018–2021. He has enjoyed a long and varied career in the domains of product development, manufacturing, international trade and management. Mr Kytölä has served as a member and as the chair of the boards of directors of Vacon Plc, the Ostrobothnia Chamber of Commerce, Merinova Oy, and several of Wärtsilä's subsidiaries. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of T-Drill Oy. He has completed the Chamber of Commerce's training in acting as a board member and chairing a board. He has graduated from the Tampere University of Technology with a Master of Science in Technology and obtained his doctorate in science from the University of Vaasa in 2017.

Elmo Paloniemi

Elmo Paloniemi (born 1998) studies administrative sciences at the University of Vaasa. He has acted as the chair of the board of the Student Union of the University of Vaasa (VYY) in 2023. Paloniemi has also acted as the chair of Hallinnoijat ry, administrative sciences subject association, in 2022 and as project manager of Hallinnoijat ry in 2021.

Timo Rothovius

Timo Rothovius (born 1962) is a professor of accounting and finance at the University of Vaasa. He is a distinguished researcher in his field and also the chair of the Finnish Shareholders' Association. Rothovius is a Doctor of Science (Economics).

Tommi Sottinen

Tommi Sottinen (born 1973) is a professor of business mathematics in the School of Technology and Innovations at the University of Vaasa since 2008. He acted as the dean of the Faculty of Technology in 2017 and vice-dean during 2013–2015 and 2016–2017. He was the head of the unit of mathematical sciences 2013–2014. He has worked as a university lecturer of financial mathematics at the University of Helsinki 2005–2008 and associate professor of financial mathematics at Reykjavik University 2007–2008. Sottinen has also held numerous positions of trust in the Finnish Union of University Professors. Sottinen is a Doctor of Philosophy and an adjunct professor of applied mathematics at the University of Helsinki.

Markku Stenborg

Markku Stenborg (born 1959) works as a Financial Advisor at the Ministry of Finance, Department of Economics, where he participates in the preparation and analysis of the government's economic policy. He also has academic work experience from the University of Turku, where he worked as a researcher and as a Deputy Professor. Mr Stenborg has served as a member of the Board of the University of Vaasa 2020–2021. Additionally, Mr Stenborg has acted as the President of the Productivity Board since 2018, and he is a member of the management team of the OECD's Economic Policy Committee. Mr Stenborg is a Doctor of Economics from Pennsylvania State University and a Docent in Legal Economics at the University of Joensuu.

Marja Vettenranta

Marja Vettenranta (born 1968) is a Supervisory Education Coordinator in administrative sciences at the Study and Education Services of the University of Vaasa. She has been working at the University of Vaasa since 1994. Vettenranta has acted as a member of the university collegium 2014–2021. Vettenranta holds a Master of Administrative Sciences.