Thousands of the world’s top executives, politicians and investors converge in the Swiss Alps this week for several days of discussions, deal-making and networking.
With attendees from some of the world’s largest companies convening in Davos, Switzerland, for four days, the World Economic Forum provides an opportunity to see dozens of clients in one setting. But with the event taking place over just three full days, that amounts to a unique sort of corporate speed-dating, the New York Times said.
The forum gives bankers and executives a chance to rub elbows and have informal meetings that often lead to deals down the road. Some participants hole up in hotel suites for the duration of the conference, taking back-to-back meetings and forgoing the official program entirely, the Times said.
‘‘Business and political decisions are taken based on the face-to-face discussions people have at Davos, ’’ said John Studzinski, global head of Blackstone’s advisory business and a regular at the event, according to the report.
Hundreds of panels will take place on a range of topics like politics in the Middle East and the volatility in oil prices. From these discussions, deal makers who make time for them can try to divine new insights that might be applicable to whatever it is they’re working on at the moment, the Times said.
Instead of predicting the future, the value of the forum is, for many, in the spontaneous conversations that are impossible to plan. ‘You have these epiphany moments where someone describes what’s happening in the world in a way that you hadn’t thought about, and it gives you an entirely new perspective that makes sense, ’’ said Jeffrey Rosen, deputy chairman of Lazard, a regular at the forum, the report said.
Besides the panel discussions and luncheons, participants keep busy in ways befitting the eclectic group gathered in the Alps. Daily meditation sessions begin each day, and a slew of parties hosted by the likes of the billionaire George Soros and the JPMorgan chief executive, Jamie Dimon, stretch into the evening, according to the Times.
Of the 2, 500 people participating in this year’s forum, dozens have been making the pilgrimage to Europe’s highest town for decades, Moneyweb said.
Eighty people had been registered for 20 or more conferences as of last year, and almost 1, 000 have attended more than 10 times. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers now has 22 under his belt. Billionaire investor George Soros has 21. Bill Gates hits the 20 mark this week, the website said.
Former Bank of Israel Governor Jacob Frenkel, who has attended 27 conferences, says the key is not to try to do too much. Better to spend time mingling and await those serendipitous moments, the report said.
“Don’t pack your agenda with back-to-back meetings, ” said Frenkel, now chairman of JPMorgan Chase International. “You miss the interactions, the ambiance, the environment.”