Klaus Schwab

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Klaus Schwab
Schwab in 2011
Chairman of the World Economic Forum
Assumed office
24 January 1971
Preceded byOffice established
Personal details
Born (1938-03-30) 30 March 1938 (age 85)
Ravensburg, German Reich
NationalityGerman
Spouse
Hilde Schwab
(m. 1971)
Children2
EducationETH Zürich (Dr. Sc. Tech)
University of Fribourg (Dr. Rer. Pol)
Harvard University (MPA)

Klaus Martin Schwab (German: [klaʊs ˈmaʁtiːn ʃvaːp]; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer, economist, and founder of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He has acted as the WEF's chairman since founding the organisation in 1971.

Early life and education

Klaus Martin Schwab was born on March 30, 1938, to Eugen Wilhelm Schwab and Erika Epprecht[1][2] in Ravensburg. His parents had moved from Switzerland to Germany during the Third Reich in order for his father to assume the role of director at Escher Wyss AG, an industrial company and contractor for the Nazi regime.[3][4] Schwab's family was monitored by the Gestapo,[5] which in 1944 also interrogated his mother (who was from Zürich) for speaking with a Swiss accent in public.[4] Schwab was raised Catholic.[6] He is a citizen of Germany although he has three Swiss grandparents and two Swiss brothers.[5]

Schwab attended first and second grade at the primary school in the Wädenswil district of Au, Zürich, in Switzerland. After World War II, his family moved back to Germany where Schwab attended the Spohn-Gymnasium in Ravensburg until his Abitur in 1957.[5][7]

In 1961, he graduated as a mechanical engineer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich,[8] which awarded him a doctorate in engineering entitled Der längerfristige Exportkredit als betriebswirtschaftliches Problem des Maschinenbaues (Longer-term export credit as a business problem in mechanical engineering).[9] He was also awarded a doctorate in economics from the University of Fribourg,[8][10] and a Master of Public Administration degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[11] While attending Harvard, Schwab found a mentor in former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.[12][13]

Career

Schwab was professor of business policy at the University of Geneva from 1972 to 2003, and since then has been an honorary professor there.[8] Schwab and his wife Hilde created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 1998.[14]

World Economic Forum

Schwab (rightmost) opens the inaugural European Management Forum in Davos in 1971.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Schwab shaking hands at the World Economic Forum Russia CEO Roundtable in June 2007

In 1971, Schwab founded the European Management Forum, which was renamed as the World Economic Forum in 1987.[15] In 1971, he also published Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau.[16]

In 2003 Schwab appointed José María Figueres as CEO of the WEF,[17] his intended successor. In October 2004, Figueres resigned[18] over his undeclared receipt of more than US$900,000 in consultancy fees from the French telecommunications firm Alcatel while he was working at the Forum.[19][20] In 2006, Transparency International highlighted this incident in their Global Corruption Report.[21]

Schwab founded the Global Shapers Community in 2011 within the WEF to work with young people in "shaping local, regional and global agendas."[22]

In 2015, the WEF was formally recognised by the Swiss Government as an "international body".[23]

As author

Schwab has authored or co-authored several books. Some consider him to be "an evangelist" for "stakeholder capitalism".[24] The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the subject of a 2016 book he wrote, is an idea he is credited with popularising.[25] In January 2017 Steven Poole in The Guardian criticised Schwab's Fourth Industrial Revolution book,[26] pointing out that "the internet of things" would probably be hackable. He also criticised Schwab for showing that future technologies may be used for good or evil, but not taking a position on the issues, instead offering only vague policy recommendations. The Financial Times' innovation editor found "the clunking lifelessness of the prose" led him to "suspect this book really was written by humans—ones who inhabit a strange twilight world of stakeholders, externalities, inflection points and 'developtory sandboxes'."[27]

The political scientist Klaus-Gerd Giesen has argued that the dominant ideology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is transhumanism.[28][29]

Criticism

Salary level and lack of financial transparency

While Schwab declared that excessively high management salaries were "no longer socially acceptable",[30] his own annual salary of about one million Swiss francs (a little more than $1 million USD) has been repeatedly questioned by the media. The Swiss radio and television corporation SRF mentioned this salary level in the context of ongoing public contributions to the WEF and the fact that the Forum does not pay any federal taxes.[31] Moreover, the former Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung journalist Jürgen Dunsch made the criticism that the WEF's financial reports were not very transparent since neither income nor expenditures were broken down.[32] Schwab has also drawn ire for mixing the finances of the not-for-profit WEF and other for-profit business ventures. For example, the WEF awarded a multimillion dollar contract to USWeb in 1998. Yet shortly after the deal went through, Schwab took a board seat at the same company, reaping valuable stock options.[33][34]

Controversy with Davos municipality

In June 2021, Schwab sharply criticised the "profiteering", "complacency" and "lack of commitment" of the municipality of Davos in relation to the WEF annual meeting. He mentioned that the preparation of the COVID-related meeting in Singapore in 2021/2022[35] had created an alternative to its Swiss host and sees the chance that the annual meeting will stay in Davos at between 40 and 70 per cent.[36][37]

Awards and honours

Among other awards, Schwab has been conferred with the French Legion of Honour (knight distinction), the Grand Cross with Star of the National Order of Germany, and the Japanese Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.[38] He also was awarded the Dan David Prize,[39] and was recognized by Queen Elizabeth as an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.[38] Schwab has also received honorary degrees from various universities,[40][41] including the National University of Singapore[42] and Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania.[43]

Publications

Articles

Books

  • The Global Information Technology Report 2001–2002: Readiness for the Networked World | Berkman Klein Center with Geoffrey S. Kirkman, Peter K. Cornelius and Jeffrey D. Sachs, New York, Oxford University Press (2002). ISBN 978-0195152586, ISBN 0195152581.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva: World Economic Forum (2016). ISBN 978-1944835002.
  • Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with Nicholas Davis. New York: Crown Publishing Group (2018).
  • COVID-19: The Great Reset, with Thierry Malleret. Forum Publishing (2020). ISBN 978-2940631124.
  • Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy that Works for Progress, People and Planet. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley (2021). ISBN 1119756138, 978-1119756132.
  • The Great Narrative: For a Better Future, with Thierry Malleret. Forum Publishing (2022). ISBN 978-2940631315.

Personal life

Schwab married Hilde Schwab, his former assistant, in 1971.[44] The wedding took place in Sertig Valley at a Reformed church.[45] The couple live in Cologny in Switzerland.[46] The Schwabs have two adult children, Nicole (born 1975/1976) and Olivier. Nicole Schwab co-founded the Gender Equality Project.[47]

References

  1. ^ Norton, Tom (25 January 2022). "Klaus Schwab is not related to the Rothschild family". Full Fact. Archived from the original on 19 April 2022. Retrieved 2 April 2022. Mr Schwab also dedicated his book "Stakeholder Capitalism", published in 2021, to his parents Eugen Wilhelm Schwab and Erika Epprecht.
  2. ^ Schwab, Klaus; Vanham, Peter (2021). Stakeholder Capitalism: A Global Economy that Works for Progress, People and Planet. Wiley. ISBN 978-1119756132.
  3. ^ "Norwegian Industrial Workers Museum World Heritage Site – ERIH". www.erih.net (in German). Archived from the original on 26 January 2023. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  4. ^ a b "Gründer Klaus Schwab zur Geschichte des WEF und zum 50. Treffen in Davos: "Ich will mich von Greta nicht instrumentalisieren lassen"". Neue Zürcher Zeitung. 20 January 2020. Archived from the original on 27 February 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Patrik Müller, Andreas Maurer. An impossible gift: Why the naturalisation of WEF founder Klaus Schwab will fail. Archived 21 February 2021 at the Wayback Machine Aargauer Zeitung, 20 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Pfarrer in Davos über das Weltwirtschaftsforum". domradio.de (in German). 22 January 2020. Archived from the original on 10 October 2022. Retrieved 10 October 2022.
  7. ^ Jürgen Dunsch: Host of the Mighty: Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum in Davos. FinanzBuch Verlag 2016. p. 26f.
  8. ^ a b c "Professor Klaus Schwab" (PDF). World Economic Forum. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  9. ^ Schwab, Klaus Martin (1965). Der längerfristige Exportkredit als betriebswirtschaftliches Problem des Maschinenbaues. Research Collection (Doctoral Thesis) (in German). ETH Zürich. doi:10.3929/ethz-a-000105052. hdl:20.500.11850/135413. Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Some of our Graduates". Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences, University of Fribourg. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Improving the State of the World: a Conversation with Klaus Schwab". The Institute of Politics at Harvard University. Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  12. ^ "A Partner in Shaping History: The First 40 Years" (PDF). World Economic Forum. 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2023. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  13. ^ "1980 – Change, Celebration and Competitiveness – Building an International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation". weforum.org. Archived from the original on 15 March 2022. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  14. ^ "Home". Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ Pigman, Geoffrey Allen (2007). The World Economic Forum: a multi-stakeholder approach to global governance. London: Routledge. pp. 6–22. ISBN 978-0-415-70204-1.
  16. ^ Schwab, Klaus (2014). Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 September 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  17. ^ "José Mariá Figueres Olsen President, Carbon War Room". eatforum.org. n.d. Archived from the original on 13 August 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  18. ^ "CEO resigns". World Economic Forum. 29 October 2004. Archived from the original on 6 August 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  19. ^ "WEF director resigns over undeclared fees". SWI swissinfo.ch. 29 October 2004. Archived from the original on 15 August 2020. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  20. ^ "Statement from the World Economic Forum". 29 October 2004. Archived from the original on 4 April 2022. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Global Corruption Report 2006 – Transparency International, Page 147" (PDF). Global Corruption Report 2006 – Transparency International. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 July 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  22. ^ "Building a movement". Global Shapers Community. Archived from the original on 29 August 2023. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  23. ^ "Agreement signed with the WEF". The portal of the Swiss government. Archived from the original on 5 June 2020. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  24. ^ Ramaswamy, Vivek (25 January 2021). "'Stakeholder Capitalism' Review: The Global, Olympian 'We'". Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 14 April 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  25. ^ Philbeck, Thomas; Davis, Nicholas (2018). "The Fourth Industrial Revolution". Journal of International Affairs. 72 (1): 17–22. ISSN 0022-197X. JSTOR 26588339. Archived from the original on 20 October 2022. Retrieved 7 September 2022.
  26. ^ Poole, Steven (6 January 2017). "The Fourth Industrial Revolution review – adapt to new technology or perish". the Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2022.
  27. ^ Thornhill, John (19 November 2018). "Shaping the Future of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, by Klaus Schwab with Nicholas Davis". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 14 April 2022. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  28. ^ Giesen, Klaus-Gerd (2018). "Le transhumanisme comme idéologie dominante de la quatrième révolution industrielle". Journal International de Bioéthique et d'Éthique des Sciences. 29 (3): 189–203. doi:10.3917/jibes.293.0189. PMID 30767456.
  29. ^ Giesen, Klaus-Gerd (2020). "The Transhumanist Ideology and the International Political Economy of the Fourth Industrial Revolution". Ideologies in World Politics. Staat – Souveränität – Nation. pp. 143–156. doi:10.1007/978-3-658-30512-3_9. ISBN 978-3-658-30511-6. S2CID 226609515.
  30. ^ Meck, Georg (20 January 2013). "Zu hohe Managergehälter sind nicht mehr sozial verträglich". Carsten Knop Berthold Kohler Jürgen Kaube Gerald Braunberger. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  31. ^ "Knurrende Zustimmung vom Ständerat zu WEF-Geldern". SRG SSR. Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen. 11 June 2021. Archived from the original on 13 July 2021. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  32. ^ Busse, Caspar (17 January 2017). "Das Weltwirtschaftsforum ist zu einer Geldmaschine geworden" [The World Economic Forum has become a money machine]. Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 5 August 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  33. ^ Flynn, Julia; Stecklow, Steve (27 January 2000). "Davos Chief Dabbles in For-Profit Firms, Raising Questions About Forum's Priorities". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 5 March 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  34. ^ Goodman, Peter (18 January 2022). "How Klaus Schwab Built a Billionaire Circus at Davos". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 26 February 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  35. ^ Bosley, Catherine (17 May 2021). "WEF Cancels Singapore Meeting as Pandemic Haunts Global Event". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  36. ^ Pöschl, Fabian (25 June 2021). "WEF-Chef Klaus Schwab droht Davos wegen überrissener Preise". 20 Minuten (in German). Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  37. ^ "WEF-Gründer Klaus Schwab kritisiert Davos scharf". Blick (in German). 24 June 2021. Archived from the original on 30 July 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  38. ^ a b "NUS confers highest honour on World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab and social service champion Gerard Ee". nus.edu.sg. Archived from the original on 17 December 2020. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  39. ^ "Klaus Schwab". Dan David Prize. 25 November 2021. Archived from the original on 25 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  40. ^ "No Swiss citizenship for WEF founder Schwab, reports say". Swissinfo.ch. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  41. ^ "Professor Klaus Schwab". United Nations. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  42. ^ Sin, Yuen (6 July 2017). "Charity Council chairman Gerard Ee, World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab get honorary doctorates from NUS". Straits Times. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  43. ^ "Prof K. Schwab, founder of WEF to become the 45th Honorary Doctor of KTU". The Lithuania Tribune. 5 October 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2023.
  44. ^ Whitney, Craig (28 January 1997). "Political and Corporate Elite Soak Up Big Ideas at Davos". The New York Times.
  45. ^ "SI_2010_05 by Schweizer Illustrierte – Issuu". 9 February 2010. Archived from the original on 15 April 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  46. ^ Edwards, Haley (4 February 2019). "The Optimist's Playbook". Time. Vol. 193. pp. 62–65.
  47. ^ Bernaudon, Sylvie (31 May 2012). "Les 20 femmes qui font la Suisse". Tamedia Publications. Bilan – B Economie. Archived from the original on 29 November 2021. Retrieved 28 November 2021.

External links