Tuesday 16 October 2018 12:09 pm

HSBC, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered join boycott of Saudi conference over missing journalist


The chief executives of HSBC, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered have become the latest business leaders to withdraw from a high profile Saudi investor conference next week.

The banking trio have joined a plethora of influential figures and businesses to pull out of the three-day event following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The US resident and Saudi critic has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Read more: Google joins the list of firms deserting next week's Saudi business summit

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in the kingdom on Tuesday and met Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, while Turkish officials are poised to search the consulate for a second time as diplomatic tensions rise.

HSBC said its chief executive John Flint would no longer be attending the Future Investment Initiative, hosted by the Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman next week.

Standard Chartered also confirmed its boss Bill Winters had withdrawn and Credit Suisse chief executive Tidjane Thiam has also cancelled plans to travel to Riyadh next week.

Google Cloud boss Diane Greene also withdrew on Tuesday.

The moves follow a series of high-profile withdrawals, which include JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford withdrew from the event yesterday.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, Viacom boss Bob Bakish, AOL founder Steve Case, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga and Sotheby's chief executive Tad Smith have also cancelled plans to attend.

London-based Deloitte, EY and PwC are all still listed as “knowledge partners” of the three-day conference and failed to respond when asked if this position had changed.

Read more: Finance chiefs desert Saudi business summit

London Stock Exchange chief executive David Schwimmer also remains a scheduled speaker and LSE would not comment on whether his attendance was being reviewed.

The Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, hosting alongside the crown prince said the event would go ahead as planned with more than 150 speakers, despite the guest list dwindling day by day.