Curriculum vitae

Sauli Niinistö served two full terms as the 12th President of the Republic of Finland from 2012 to 2024. He was inaugurated on 1 March 2012 and was re-elected for another six-year term in January 2018.

Sauli Niinistö was born in Salo on 24 August 1948. He graduated from the University of Turku with a Master of Laws degree in 1974, after which he worked as a Rural Police Chief and, for more than ten years, as an Assistant Judge at the Turku Court of Appeal. He also practiced law as an attorney and gained experience of corporate administration. His political career began in 1977, when he was elected to the Town Council of Salo. He continued to hold elected positions in local government until the 1990s.

Sauli Niinistö was first elected to Parliament in 1987. During his time as a Member of Parliament, he served as Chairman of the Constitutional Law Committee. His ministerial career began in 1995, when he served as Minister of Justice and Deputy Prime Minister in Paavo Lipponen’s Government. In 1996, Niinistö moved to the Ministry of Finance and became Finland’s longest-serving Minister of Finance. At the beginning of his term, the effects of the recession in the 1990s were at their worst and unemployment was at a record high. Those difficulties were overcome, and Finland entered the new millennium on a strong footing.

Sauli Niinistö was Chairman of the National Coalition Party from 1994 to 2001. In addition to domestic politics, he was Chairman of the European Democrat Union (EDU), with a membership of centre-right parties from almost all European countries, from 1998 to 2002. He was instrumental in merging the EDU with the European People’s Party (EPP), of which he was appointed second Honorary President.

In 2003, Sauli Niinistö took up the post of Vice President of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg. He was responsible for R&D funding and funding activities in the Nordic countries and Russia, and chaired the Northern Dimension Partnership Programme. Niinistö has also been a Member and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and a Member of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC).

Sauli Niinistö returned to the Finnish Parliament in the 2007 elections with the highest number of votes ever gained by a candidate. He was Speaker of Parliament from 2007 to 2011.

As President of the Republic, Sauli Niinistö enjoyed high popularity throughout his presidential terms. In 2018, Niinistö made history in the presidential elections: for the first time a Finnish presidential candidate won the election by gaining more than 50% of the votes already in the first round. In various media surveys made at the end of President Niinistö’s presidential term, more than 90% of Finns felt that he had performed his task successfully.

President Niinistö is married to Jenni Haukio, and in February 2018 they had a son, Aaro. President Niinistö also has two adult sons from his previous marriage.

President Niinistö is active in sports. He was Chairman of the Football Association of Finland from 2009 to 2012 and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships. He has written two books.


Sauli Niinistö

Born 24 August 1948, Salo
Master of Laws, Master of Laws with court training
Married to Jenni Elina Haukio 2009–,
son Aaro b. 2018
Married to Marja-Leena Alanko (d. 1995) 1974–1995 sons Nuutti b. 1975 and Matias b. 1980


President of the Republic of Finland 2012–2024
Speaker of the Finnish Parliament 2007–2011
Member of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) 2000–2001
Member of the Board of Governors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) 1996–2003, Chairman of the Board of Governors 1999–2000
Vice President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) 2003–2007
Minister of Finance 2.2.1996–17.4.2003
Deputy Prime Minister 13.4.1995–31.8.2001
Minister of Justice 13.4.1995–2.2.1996
Member of Parliament, National Coalition Party 1987–2003, 2007–2011
Assistant Judge of the Turku Court of Appeal 1976–1988
Own law office 1978–1988
Rural Police Chief for the municipality of Kisko 1974–1975

Confidential political posts and offices

Honorary President of the European People’s Party 2003
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) and the Eurogroup 1999
Chairman of the European Democratic Union (EDU) 1998–2002
Chairman of the National Coalition Party 1994–2001
Chair of the City Council of Salo 1989–1992
Member of the City Board of Salo 1977–1988
Member of the City Council of Salo 1977–1992

Honorary degrees

University of Helsinki, Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy 2023
National Defence University, Honorary Doctorate of Military Sciences 2018
University of Minnesota, Doctor of Laws, Honorary Doctor’s degree 2017
University of Helsinki, Honorary Doctorate of Laws 2017
Aalto University School of Business, Honorary Doctorate of Economics 2016
University of Helsinki, Honorary Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine 2015
University of Jyväskylä, Honorary Doctorate of Sport and Health Sciences 2013
Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Budapest, Hungary, Honorary Doctorate of Laws 2012
University of Turku, Honorary Doctorate of Laws 2011
University of Tampere, Honorary Doctorate of Administrative Sciences 2010


“Hiljaisten historia” (“Ordinary People at the Mercy of Great Events”), published 2007, Teos, Helsinki
“Viiden vuoden yksinäisyys” (“Five Years of Solitude”), published 2005, Teos, Helsinki
“Yhteinen raha: eurooppalaisen yhteistyön alku- vai päätepiste?” (“Single Currency: the Beginning or the End of European Cooperation?”) article in the book “Marginaalista ytimeen: Suomi Euroopan unionissa 1989-2003” (“From the Margin to the Centre: Finland in the European Union 1989–2003”), Tammi.


Chairman of the organising committee for the 2009 European Figure Skating Championships
Honorary Chairman of the Tukikummi foundation (combating social exclusion among young people)
Chairman of the Finnish Football Association 2009–2012
Captain in the Finnish Army Reserve