Davos boss quits – media

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Klaus Schwab, the founder of World Economic Forum, will reportedly transition to role of non-executive chairman

World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab has announced he will step back from his role, after more than 50 years at the head of the event, according to the Semafor news platform.

The article cites a letter from Schwab to staff on Tuesday in which he outlines his intention to transition to a non-executive-chairman role before the next meeting of the annual gathering at the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, in 2025. The change is pending approval by the Swiss government.

Semafor also cited a statement by a forum’s spokesperson, who said that the organization is “transforming from a convening platform to the leading global institution for public-private cooperation.”

Schwab, 86, did not reportedly name his successor, but said that over the last year the group’s executive board “under the leadership of President Borge Brende, has taken full executive responsibility.” A former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Brende, 58, has been WEF president since 2017.

Established by Schwab in 1971, the WEF is a nonprofit foundation and its annual gathering in Davos is the world’s biggest annual business and economics event. 

The forum traditionally attracts dozens of high-ranking world leaders and CEOs, with more than 50 heads of state attending in 2024, according to the organization.

It operates much like a “family business,” Semafor wrote, pointing out that Schwab’s children have been appointed to high-ranking positions and his wife Hilde heads the organization’s foundation and awards ceremonies in Davos.

The report also described the WEF as a “remarkable business,” which brought in nearly $500 million in revenue in the year ending March 2023, and “had a neat 200 million Swiss francs ($220 million) sitting in cash.”

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