$100 billion encounters
KB chief to meet Gates, Buffett at CEO summit
By Kim Jae-won
KB Financial Group Chairman Euh Yoon-dae will discuss international management trends and economic issues next week along with about 100 guests, which will include two of the world’s three wealthiest people.
The nation’s top financial group said Wednesday that Euh will leave for Seattle to attend the Microsoft CEO Summit, which will be held from May 15 to 17. It is the second time that Euh ― the only Korean this year ― has been invited.
Internationally-renowned businessmen and economists will join the 16th edition of the annual gathering, which will bring together Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett whose combined wealth amounts to more than $100 billion.
Also included among the high-profile attendees are former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, CISCO Chief Executive John Chambers and Wal-Mart head Mike Duke.
U.K.-based Barclays CEO Robert Diamond, U.S.-based investment banking giant JPMorgan Chase head Jamie Dimon, and British banking heavyweight Standard Chartered head Peter Sands are some of the financial experts on the list.
Information technology venture businessmen, such as Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn and Jeff Bezos from Amazon.com are expected to be part of the three-day event.
One of the key meetings is the official dinner party hosted by Gates at his home by Lake Washington. It has long been held behind closed doors, to allow executives to speak candidly, although in years past the company has allowed reporters to watch presentations by Gates or Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer via closed-circuit television or webcasts.
One-on-one meetings will be also provided by the host to offer opportunities to form global networks and business expansion.
KB said that Euh would have the chance to meet renowned figures in forums and other events although he has not set up specific meetings with Gates or Buffett.
KB expects the conference will be a good chance to promote the company on the international stage.
“We hope global awareness of KB Financial will be boosted by the summit,” said a company official in a statement.
In 2011, about 150 global leaders, including former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, discussed how to stabilize financial worries lingering on the world economy.
Microsoft has held the event since 1997. In addition to giving Buffett and Gates an opportunity to play marathon games of bridge until the early hours, the CEO Summit is traditionally a chance for Microsoft to hold discussions among some of the most powerful people in business.
In the process, it also helps the technology powerhouse ingrain its products in the minds of renowned figures. In 2003, long before the iPad existed, Microsoft gave all of the CEOs in attendance at the summit a new tablet PC in an attempt to give the then-fledgling initiative better momentum in the corporate world.
According to the company, discussion topics last year included subjects from energy opportunities to health problems and leadership.
In his speech last year, Ballmer explored areas of Microsoft where the improbable was becoming possible and what approaches were being taken to make this happen.
Euh is one of the finest Korean international finance experts. The economist-turned-banker is leading efforts to boost the group’s brand image by attending international conferences, and was at the Institute of International Finance Asia CEO Summit held in March.