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Mutiny breaks out among WEF staff over role of ‘Mr. Davos’ | Davos

The future of Klaus Schwab – Mr. Davos for more than half a century – became a topic of discussion at this year’s meeting after World Economic Forum employees sharply criticized their chairman and the lack of a succession strategy.

A group of current and former WEF staff who contacted the Guardian say Schwab, 82, was a law unto himself and had surrounded himself with ‘people’ unable to run the organization he had founded in the early 1970s.

“Klaus has been at the head of the WEF for 52 years. When he was born [in 1938] 122 of the world’s 195 states didn’t even exist. He is unaccountable to anyone inside and outside the organization,” the group said.

“We are a group of current and former WEF employees. We want to play our part in promoting debate on the role this organization plays in the world.

The group said they wanted to remain anonymous. “We are hesitant to come forward as Klaus is very well connected and can make life very difficult for us even after we leave the WEF.”

Speculation over Schwab’s future intensified this week after a report on the Politico online publication said the WEF’s strategic partners – the companies that fund the $390m (£315m) a year – were unhappy with the lack of a succession strategy.

The WEF staff group said they posted their criticisms on social media platform LinkedIn, but they were removed at the request of the WEF, which the organization denies.

The posts, shared with the Guardian, said: ‘There isn’t much of a future for the WEF beyond Klaus, not only because there is no clear successor, but also because its board is such a viper’s nest that senior management will be at each other’s throats the moment the old man pops up.

A WEF spokesperson said: “The Board decides on any future institutional leadership appointments. The forum has a strong institutional governance structure to ensure its continued ability to fully support its mission.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is one of the main international figures associated with this role.

The group of past and current WEF employees questioned the organization’s ability to function without Schwab at the helm.

“In most organizations, the next generation of high-level leaders is barely visible at the upper levels of management, but at the WEF Klaus has surrounded himself with such a group of insignificants at the top that it is difficult to see how any of them might be taken seriously by anyone important inside or outside the organization.

“Klaus chooses his leaders using the same criteria that Putin uses to choose deputies to the State Duma: loyalty, cunning, sexiness. The quality of people at the top reflects the type of people working for the rest of the organization. »

The head of a British company agreed that there did not appear to be a successor to Schwab. “My impression is that he will die with his boots on,” the exec said.

Another longtime Davos attendee said he was surprised that Schwab had allowed speculation about his future to surface. “If I’m being honest, I find that a little disrespectful. [given everything he has done] but he should have known it would happen and took steps to prevent it.

The World Economic Forum is a Swiss foundation and has no shareholders.

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