Klaus Schwab announces step down from WEF: report

2WD7RFW Davos, Switzerland. 16th Jan, 2024. Klaus Schwab will speak at the opening ceremony of the WEF in Davos on 16 January 2024. He will not be replaced by a speaker on this occasion. Credit: Hannes P. Albert/dpa/Alamy Live News

Photo: Alamy

World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab announced early Tuesday to his staff that he would be stepping back from his executive position, according to Semafor.

In an email obtained by the outlet through a source connected to the organization, Schwab announced his step down from executive chairman, telling others that he would be transiting to a ‘non-executive’ chairman role.

The 86-year-old noted that his role change will need to first be approved by the Swiss government, but it could be confirmed prior to the WEF’s 2025 annual meeting.

As Schwab has refrained from naming a successor to replace him, the group’s president, Børge Brende, a former Norwegian conservative leader, “has taken full executive responsibility” over the last year, according to Semafor.

Schwab founded the foundation in 1971 with the help of the European Commission (EC), seeking to inform European leaders on the inner workings of American businesses. According to Fox News, many major names have attended Schwab’s annual invite-only meeting, with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Microsoft founder Bill Gates attending the last gathering.

A previous report from Politico in early 2023 indicated tensions among the WEF group. Some were getting “antsy” due to Schwab’s delay in naming a successor. According to the outlet, some members called out Schwab’s “god complex,” while others worried he was treating WEF as “a family heirloom.”

“Everyone’s talking about it,” one WEF strategic partner told the outlet and added, “The whole thing could fall apart if they don’t sort it out.”

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