Davos 2015: Who’s going to the World Economic Forum?

Lynsey Barber
Follow Lynsey
Davos attracts movers and shakers (Source: Getty)

Where else do world leaders, economists, royalty and even a celeb or two cross paths? It can only be Davos.

The World Economic Forum’s annual summit hosts a privileged few, but if you’re lucky enough to be visiting, here’s who to look out for.

If, like most people, you’ll be remaining at your desk and following things from afar, here are the people likely to be making the headlines- and some who already are.

The biggest name of the year making a splash at Davos is William Adams. Not heard of him? He’s not the latest hot shot economist or teen tech entrepreneur, no, It’s actually Will.I.Am (sans swivel chair). You’d be forgiven for not knowing his real name. Fellow singer Pharell will also be bringing a little happiness to Switzerland.

It’s a who’s who in tech, and we can only imagine some sort of showdown (probably with robots) between Google’s Eric Schmidt, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. Either that or they use the quality time to club together and plot against Apple.

Other non-tech CEO’s heading to the slopes includes General Motor’s Mary Bara, Unilever’s Paul Polman, newly minted Santander boss Ana Botin and Alliance Trust’s Katherine Garrett-Cox.

Mad men Martin Sorrell and Maurice Levy will be walking sticks at dawn, fighting over who’s media biz is bigger, better and more digitally focused.

Is Davos a retirement home of sorts for former politicians? Possibly. Ex-PM’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown will both take to the stage to ensure people know they’re still around, as is Al Gore, former presidential candidate and now climate change evangelist.

It’s not often a conference can boast hosting royalty. This year there’s Abdullah Ii Ibn Al Hussein talking Middle East security. That’s the King of Jordan, if you didn’t know. More controversially, Prince Andrew will be promoting British Entrepreneurship at the event.

Also representing the UK is George Osborne, keen to shout about the UK economy outperforming the rest of Europe. Expect at least one sneaky smug grin during his Recharging Europe” session alongside the likes of George Soros and German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

While George gets to boast in front of his mates, David Cameron has chosen not to head to Davos this year, but there’s no word on why.

Fellow country leaders who will be in attendance, include German leader Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, President Sisi of Egypt, Iraqi prime minister Haider Abadi and South African leader Jacob Zuma.

Finance chiefs sure to set tongues wagging with prescient comments on the actions of the ECB are Christine Lagarde from the IMF, the Bank of England’s Mark Carney and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. No Mario Draghi. We hear he might be busy.

In case you thought Bill Gates was giving it a miss as he's not listed as a speaker anywhere, look for William H. Gates. Now you know.

Related articles