World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab steps back after more than FIFTY years

World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab steps back after more than FIFTY years

WATCH: Princess Beatrice speaks at WEF

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 21/05/2024

- 20:16

The Geneva-based institution said in an emailed statement it was undergoing a planned 'governance evolution'

World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab is stepping down from his role as executive chairman after more than five decades.

The 86-year-old is moving away from the day-to-day management of the organisation and will become chairman of the WEF's board of trustees by January 2025.

Schwab's succession plan has been the source of much speculation over recent years.

However, the organisation has remained tight-lipped about its intentions until now.

\u200bKlaus Schwab

Klaus Schwab will be stepping aside


A WEF spokesperson said: "Since 2015, the World Economic Forum has been transforming from a convening platform to the leading global institution for public-private cooperation.

"As part of that transformation, the organisation has also been undergoing a planned governance evolution from a founder-managed organisation to one where a President and Managing Board assume full executive responsibility."

The Swiss based forum said that the move was part of a multiyear strategy to change its management structure, shifting governance to a president and managing board.

The forum did not reveal who would succeed Schwab and become the face of its elite annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.


Klaus Schwab

Klaus Schwab will become chairman of the WEF's board of trustees by January 2025


Schwab, a German engineer and economist, established the forum in 1971 and also served as its executive chairman.

Originally known as the European Management Forum, it was initially designed as a place for European business leaders and government officials to gather and discuss bolstering their competitiveness with the US.

The annual gathering in Davos has become a key event in the economic calendar, with key meetings at the event featuring the first ministerial talks between North and South Korea, and the origins of various campaigns, such as a global health initiative to combat AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The forum has faced criticism for failing to represent diverse voices and make progress on global issues, such as climate change and wealth inequality.

Macron and Schwab

French President Emmanuel Macron with World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab


The event has also been the target of climate campaigners as well as populists and anti-capitalists.

Meanwhile, the village of Davos itself with a proposal to hold a referendum for residents that could limit the number of people who attend the conference.

This would be accomplished by restricting the rental of premises to official guests only.

You may like