WEF meet sees high-profile exits even before start
Jan 20 2014 , Davos
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has cancelled his visit to WEF annual meeting after a deadly Taliban attack in his country. He was scheduled to participate in a session on 'Eurasia: The Next Frontier?' at WEF, and was also expected to hold a number of private meetings on the sidelines.
These meetings would have been significant as it was to be Sharif's first outing to such a large global business summit ever since he won an historic election in Pakistan last year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was one of the star attractions here last year, also had to cancel her trip after a skiing accident.
From India, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla will not be attending the meet, despite his initial confirmation. Besides, his compatriots Chanda kochhar and Anand Mahindra had already decided to skip this year's WEF annual extravaganza despite being regulars here for the many past years.
Among Indian businessmen, it remains to be seen whether Vijay Mallya manages to make it to the summit, as troubles at his now-defunct airline venture Kingfisher has resulted into problems for his other ventures and have also cast a shadow on his big-ticket sale of majority stake in United Spirits to global liquor giant Diageo.
The top officials of Diageo are also among those expected to be present and those scheduled to meet them include Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is on his maiden foreign visit as head of the Western Indian state with eyes on foreign investments.
Among other Indian leaders, Tata group chief Cyrus Mistry and Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani are so far expected to be present, but neither of them are as yet scheduled to participate in any officials sessions.
However, both of them are expected to be separately attending a number of private meetings with businessmen and political leaders from across the world, which assume significance in the wake of overseas revenues accounting for a bulk of the respective top-lines of their groups.
The two top Indian industrialists are expected to come face to face also at a number of dinners and receptions hosted on the sidelines of WEF summit, including one hosted by Mistry himself on behalf of his group's IT arm TCS and an India Reception by industry body CII.