He is the father of the great annual rally of economic elites and decision-makers from around the world: the founder of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Klaus Schwab, will step down from his management functions in the coming months, the organization announced this Wednesday. of this annual meeting in the luxurious Swiss ski resort. Aged 86, he will “soon” leave the reins of “executive president” for those of “chairman of the board of directors”, according to a press release. The change should take place before the next edition of the forum scheduled for January 2025.

The announcement of Klaus Schwab’s retirement from executive leadership after more than 40 years marks the culmination of the forum’s long transition begun in 2015, which will move from “an organization managed by the founders to an organization in which a president and a board of directors assume full executive responsibility,” recalled the organization. The status of the forum, based in Geneva and which employs 800 people around the world, will evolve from a simple “gathering platform” to “the main global institution for public-private cooperation,” she added.

No details have been given on the name of Klaus Schwab’s successor. His number 2 is currently the president of the Forum Borge Brende, 58, former Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Klaus Schwab, born in Ravensburg, Germany in 1938, was still just a professor of business management at the University of Geneva, where he taught until 2003, when he launched the “European Forum of management”, precursor of the current forum. He then expanded it by inviting American business leaders, managing to create a gigantic address book and transforming this meeting into a major international gathering dedicated to business relations and the exchange of ideas.

Over the years, the Davos Forum has gone from strength to strength, attracting the world’s economic and political elite to roundtable discussions in the Swiss Alps. Regional meetings were subsequently created. Last month, a meeting was notably organized in Riyadh, in the midst of the war between Israel and Hamas, in which American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the foreign ministers and prime ministers of the Middle East and Europe.