Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard steps down as city mayor for employment and integration

Final straw came on Monday with release of damning internal report accusing her of being the source of abusive behaviour in the workplace

Cecilia Lonning-Skovgaard has stepped down as the Copenhagen mayor for employment and integration.

Re-elected for another four-year term in November, she took to Facebook yesterday to confirm her resignation, blaming “intense press coverage … in recent months”, which revolved around claims her abusive leadership created a toxic working environment around her. 

It had got to the point when the “negative press stories had begun to overshadow the party and the opportunity to pursue bourgeois-liberal politics in Copenhagen”, she explained.

Her replacement has been confirmed as fellow Venstre councillor Jens-Kristian Lütken, who is the party’s group chair of the Citizens’ Representation, as well as a member of the Children and Youth and Technical and Environmental committees. 

Writing was on the wall
The final straw came for Lonning-Skovgaard this week.

Firstly, on Monday, an internal report confirmed that 27 percent of the 188 employees working under her in the employment and integration department had experienced abusive behaviour in the workplace.

Commissioned in February, the report further revealed that almost half of them attributed the abusive behaviour to the political leadership.

Within hours, Venstre Youth withdrew its support for Lonning-Skovgaard – and so did fellow Venstre councillor Cille Hald Egholm.

DR then reported the damning findings yesterday. Her resignation swiftly followed.

Counselling came too late
“I must also make no secret of the fact that the intense press coverage of recent months has been tough for me and the family,” said the departing mayor.

The whole affair began in January when the trade unions Djøf and HK penned an open letter on behalf of 2,000 of its members that criticised the mayor for having a “deeply problematic management style”.

In response, Lonning-Skovgaard agreed to receive counselling. 

Lonning-Skovgaard took over as employment and integration mayor on 1 January 2018. She was her party’s leading candidate at both the 2017 and 2021 local elections.