Sunday, October 31, 2010

120 leaders to participate in G20 Business Summit

By Kim Tong-hyung

Organizers are close to confirming the complete list of business leaders coming to Korea to attend the global chief executives’ conference in Seoul. The Seoul Business Summit, scheduled for Nov. 10-11, will complement the Group of 20 summit that will be held Nov. 11-12 and attendants are expected to be the main source for private sector input for the discussions between political leaders and finance chiefs.

About 120 CEOs and high-profile business figures, including those from non-G20 countries, will be gathering at the Sheraton Walkerhill Hotel to exchange views about the world economy and the private sector’s role in strengthening the economy. Korea, which hands off the 12-month presidency of the G20 to France after the November summit, is pushing to make the business summit a regular part of the G20 process. 

Already with booked tickets to Seoul are some of the most influential figures in the manufacturing, technology and energy industries, including Nestle Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs, Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, Bosch Group Chairman Franz Fehrenbach and Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon. ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal is pondering whether to take part in the summit or not. 

Representing the financial services industry in Seoul will be Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann, HSBC British Holdings Group Chairman Stephen Green, Standard Chartered CEO Peter Sands, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, VISA Chairman Joseph Saunders and Nomura Holdings CEO Kenichi Watanabe.

There will be 15 seats reserved for Korean business leaders, led by SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won, who was picked as the convener of the summit, Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, Hyundai Automotive Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo and LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

The business summit’s organizing committee has yet to confirm a commitment from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, while Apple boss Steve Jobs has turned down the invitation citing personal reasons. 

The agenda of the business summit consists of four main themes ― boosting trade activity and investment; stabilizing financial systems; achieving ``green’’ growth; and encouraging corporate social responsibility (CSR). Each of the four themes will again be divided into three sub-topics to handle detailed talks on issues such as trade liberalization, cross-border investment, job creation, advancing technology and production and improving medical systems in developing nations. There will be direct exchanges between business leaders and G20 political leaders during the roundtable discussions. 

SK’s Chey was picked as a convener of the summit for the green technologies and renewable energy-related discussions. The companies participating in the business summit have recently completed the content materials that will be used in the discussions after collaborating these past five months, organizers said.

``There have been numerous meetings between the companies participating in the business summit to provide the framework of the discussions, which is expected to result in the form of an agreement that will be relayed to the G20 leaders,’’ said an official from the organizing committee. 

``The success of the business summit will be crucial for improving the relevance and credibility of the G20 as the world’s premier forum for economic policies.’’ 

Organizers selected from the list of Fortune 350 companies in different business sectors are to decide on the list of CEOs to invite to the business summit. About 80 of the companies participating are based in G20 countries, while around 20 of them are from developing economies.

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