From Goldman Sachs bankers to United Nations bureaucrats, delegates descended on Davos, Switzerland, for the 2020 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (“WEF”). However, the WEF publicly released its list of attendees without names of participants and cited the European data-privacy law known as GDPR as the reason for doing so.
Anonymously, the information about attendees was submitted to Quartz who then published it in February 2020. And the information received contained more detail on attendees than Quartz had ever seen and revealed, in ways never before disclosed, how the WEF catalogues and categorises the global “elites.”
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Davos has a way of separating even the global “elite” into strata. Participants’ relative importance is made known through the colour and design of their name badge. The hierarchy of attendees is also enumerated, with more nuance, in WEF’s databases. Participants are put into categories numbered from one to seven—an indication, of sorts, of how senior or perhaps important a delegate is to the business world.
Nearly every person attending is assigned one of these “position levels.” Those listed as ones are labelled things like “Top Executive” or “Head of State.” Twos are labelled in positions like “Senior Executives” and “Deputy Head of State.” Central bankers are level three. Level four includes country officials in a sub-ministerial post. Local government officials are level five. People in honorary positions are level six. Level seven is for those classified as “Functional Staff.”
There were only two leaders of international organisations labelled as “1-Head of Top IO” (for “international organization”). Those were António Guterres, the secretary-general of the UN, and Kristalina Georgieva, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Leaders of the WTO, NATO, and OECD were listed as “3-Head of IO/Deputy Head of Top IO.”
In all, 46% of 2020’s participants were listed as a ones, and 0.75% were sevens.
You can search the 2,784-person list of attendees by name, position or country on Quartz’s website HERE.
Filtering the list for the United Kingdom, there were 264 attendees on the list published by Quartz. Below we have attached a list of these UK attendees.
Gordon Brown, who was UK prime minister from 2007 to 2010, was listed as “6-Public Sector Expert.” Tony Blair, who preceded Brown and is now executive chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, was “1-Academia/Think-tank.” David Cameron, Brown’s successor, was “1-Top Executive” (he was at the forum as president of Alzheimer’s Research UK).
The current UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, was not on the list. He stayed away from Davos 2020 and banned most other ministers from attending, telling them they should be focused on delivering for the people of the UK.
However, Sajid Javid, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and current Secretary of State for Health, did attend. He was designated as only mildly important “Level 3-Minister” by WEF. A lower designation than UK corporate media editors and journalists.
The 10 “Level 1-Editor-in-Chief” in attendance were:
- Magdalena Skipper, Editor-in-Chief, Nature
- George Osborne, Editor, Evening Standard
- Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist
- Roula Khalaf, Editor, Financial Times
- Faisal Islam, Political Editor, Sky News
- Joel Hills, Business and Economics Editor, ITV News
- James Harding. Co-Founder and Editor, Tortoise Media
- Anthony William Hall of Birkenhead, Director-General, BBC News
- Patrick Foulis, Bureau Chief, New York, The Economist
- John Casey, Senior Vice-President, International News and Programming, CNBC
The 27 “Level 2-Journalist” in attendance were:
- Dmitry Zhdannikov, Editor, Energy, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Thomson Reuters
- Benjamin Wright, Business Editor, Daily Telegraph
- Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times
- Gillian R. Tett, Editor-at-Large and Chair of the Editorial Board, Financial Times
- Keir Simmons, Correspondent, NBC News
- Steve Sedgwick, Anchor, CNBC
- Gideon Rachman, Associate Editor and Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Financial Times
- Cathy Newman, Presenter, Channel 4 News, ITN News
- Anne McElvoy, Editor, Public Policy and Education, The Economist
- Alexander “Sandy” MacIntyre, Vice-President, News, Associated Press Television News
- Francine Lacqua, Editor-at-Large and Presenter, Bloomberg Television
- Kevin Krolicki, Asia News Editor, Thomson Reuters
- Mishal Husain, Presenter, BBC News
- Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times
- Hadley Gamble, Reporter and Anchor, CNBC
- Charles Forelle, Financial Editor, Wall Street Journal
- Richard Fletcher, Business Editor, The Times
- Stephanie Flanders, Senior Executive Editor, Economics, Bloomberg
- Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Editor, International Business, Daily Telegraph
- Lawrence Elliott, Economics Editor, Guardian
- Geoff Cutmore, Anchor, CNBC
- David Crow, Banking Editor, Financial Times
- Ed Conway, Economics Editor, Sky News
- Sally Bundock, News Presenter, World Business Report, BBC World News
- Thorold Barker, Editor, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Wall Street Journal
- Jenny Anderson, Senior Correspondent, Quartz – Atlantic Media
- Philip Aldrick, Economics Editor, Times
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