Business is boycotting Saudi Arabia’s big conference. Here’s who’s still going
Some of the biggest names in global business and finance have canceled plans to attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week because of the unexplained disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Washington Post columnist hasn’t been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Sources told CNN on Monday that Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge that Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong. Saudi authorities have so far maintained that Khashoggi left the consulate the same day of his visit, but have provided no evidence to support the claim.
The Saudi conference, known as “Davos in the desert,” is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to transform the oil-dependent economy.
JP Morgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon and the heads of America’s top investment firms — Blackrock (BLK) and Blackstone — are among the leading figures who have decided to stay away. Top executives at Ford (F) and MasterCard (MA) have also pulled out, and Google (GOOGL) said Tuesday that the head of its cloud computing business wouldn’t participate in the event either.
The chief executives of several prominent Asian and European companies — some of whom have benefited from hefty Saudi investments — are still planning to attend, or are refusing to talk about their plans.
Here’s a list of big names who are still planning to participate:
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy Thales CEO Patrice Caine
These executives have not yet commented on whether they still plan to attend:
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son Glencore Chairman Tony Hayward Societe Generale CEO Frédéric Oudéa BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin
These are the high-profile participants who have pulled out of the Saudi conference:
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman Blackrock CEO Larry Fink MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga Viacom CEO Bob Bakish HSBC CEO John Flint Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam Standard Chartered CEO William Winters London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer Thrive CEO Ariana Huffington Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene Sinovation Ventures CEO Kai-Fu Lee World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong Economist Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin