World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab has announced his decision to step back from his role overseeing the globalist organization, a responsibility he has held since its establishment in 1971.

In an email to staff on Tuesday, which was shared with Semafor by a source connected to the organization, Schwab expressed his intention to transition from executive chairman to non-executive chairman. He stated that the pending change in his role is awaiting approval from the Swiss government, with finalization anticipated ahead of the WEF’s annual meeting in 2025.

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While Schwab has not disclosed his successor, he acknowledged the executive board’s assumption of full executive responsibility over the past year under President Børge Brende’s leadership. Brende, a former Norwegian conservative leader, has been pivotal in overseeing the organization’s operations.

Despite Semafor’s request for comment on Schwab’s decision, the Forum did not immediately respond.

At 86 years old, Schwab has been synonymous with the organization he has guided for over half a century. Originally known as the European Management Forum, the event initially drew significantly fewer attendees to Davos compared to the thousands it attracts today.

The annual WEF meeting in Davos has evolved into a gathering that hosts numerous high-ranking world leaders and CEOs each year. In 2024, over 50 heads of state were in attendance, underscoring the event’s significance.

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The Forum functions like a family business, as Schwab’s children hold prominent positions within the organization. His wife, Hilde, leads the organization’s foundation and presides over awards ceremonies in Davos.

In recent years, the Forum has allegedly undergone a shift in its focus, moving away from liberal politics, as previously reported by Semafor.

Succession at the WEF has sparked fervent speculation, with a Politico article proposing potential candidates causing a stir at the 2023 gathering. Additionally, the Forum has navigated a challenging political landscape, veering back toward the center after embracing progressive stances in culture and finance.

Despite its nonprofit status, the WEF operates as a formidable business entity. In the fiscal year ending March 2023, the organization amassed nearly $500 million in revenue, and reportedly retained 200 million Swiss francs in cash, according to Semafor’s previous reporting.

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