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Here's everyone who has dropped out of Saudi Arabia's 'Davos of the Middle East'

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Thursday that he will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia next week.

The news comes after prominent members of the world’s business community have been dropping out of Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, a conference that is widely known as the “Davos of the Middle East,” after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a columnist at the Washington Post.

Khashoggi disappeared following a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey has accused Saudi Arabia of sending a large task force to murder him and dismember his body.

Among the highest-profile cancelations to lead: Jim Yong Kim, the head of World Bank; Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and AOL founder Steve Case.

All the big names have canceled their attendance at the conference. (Yahoo Finance)

By Sunday evening, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon had pulled out, along with Ford chair Bill Ford.

On Monday morning, Axios reported that Steve Schwarzman, the CEO and founder of the Blackstone Group had canceled. According to Reuters, Larry Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, is also shunning the conference.


Later on Monday, Sotheby confirmed to Yahoo Finance that its CEO Tad Smith had withdrawn as well. Reports also emerged that Bain co-chair Stephen Pagliuca had pulled out as well.

Yahoo Finance also confirmed Monday that KKR will not be attending the conference. The chair of its Global Institute David Petraeus had been scheduled along with Joseph Bae, co-president and co-COO.

A few hours later, Google joined, telling Yahoo Finance that its Cloud CEO Diane Greene would not be attending.

By Tuesday, Yahoo Finance learned that Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam would also skip. HSBC’s CEO John Flint and Standard Chartered CEO Bill Winters were reported to have bailed. BNP Paribas told Yahoo Finance that its chair Jean Lemierre will also not be participating.

David Bonderman, chair TPG Capital, has also dropped out, according to Axios’ Dan Primack.

The City of London announced it had pulled out its Policy and Resources Chair Catherine McGuinness Tuesday.

On Wednesday, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde dropped out.

The cancelations began after journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin tweeted that he would not be attending the conference in Riyadh. The Economist’s Zanny Minton Beddoes dropped out soon after, as did the LA Times’s owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. CNN, CNBC, FT, and Bloomberg all dropped out as media partners.

Fox Business Network and Maria Bartiromo joined the other media partners and pulled out the following Thursday.

On Friday, Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit vice chair dropped out as well.

Arianna Huffington resigned from the summit’s board, according to Reuters.

Khosrowshahi’s departure from the summit is especially notable given significant Saudi investment in Uber that includes board seats.

Billionaire Richard Branson, who was not to attend, earlier suspended his business relationships with the country, telling Bloomberg — which pulled out as a media partner — that, “if proved true, [this] would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi government.”

Khosrowshahi’s cancelation could precipitate a wave of changing support. Many companies contacted by Yahoo Finance said that they were “monitoring the situation,” which means they are going unless something changes. This could be new information or, more likely, waiting to see what other companies do.

After Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier quit President Trump’s advisory council following the president’s failure to condemn white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 — telling the media that there were “some very fine people on both sides” — a wave of “no comments” turned into departures from the summit.

Here are some high profile names who has not canceled:

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank

Alex Dimitrief, President and CEO of GE Global

Andrew Liveris, former Chair and CEO of Dow Chemical

Sheila Patel, CEO, International of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

George Atta, Global Smart City Leader at EY

Mohmood Khan, PepsiCo vice chair/chief scientific officer

Marc Raibert, CEO Boston Dynamics

Jean-Bernard Lévy, CEO of EDF

Here’s a list of everyone who has confirmed to have pulled out:

Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times reporter and CNBC contributor

Zanny Minton Beddoes, The Economist

Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner LA Times

Jim Yong Kim, President World Bank

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber

Joanna Popper, HP

CNBC

CNN

Financial Times

Arianna Huffington

Steve Case

Bloomberg

Matthew Jafarian, VP of the NBA’s Miami Heat

Andy Rubin, creator of Android

Rodger Novak, co-founder of Crispr Therapeutics AG (Bloomberg is reporting)

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase

Bill Ford, chair of Ford

Steve Schwarzman, CEO/Founder of the Blackstone Group

Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock

Tad Smith, CEO of Sotheby’s

Stephen Pagliuca, co-chairman at Bain

David Petraeus, chair of KKR Global Institute

Diane Greene, CEO Google Cloud

Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse CEO

John Flint, HSBC CEO

Bill Winters, Standard Chartered CEO

Jean Lemierre, Chair BNP Paribas

David Bonderman, Chair TPG Capital

Catherine McGuinness, City of London Policy and Resources Committee Chair

Christine Lagarde, IMF chair and managing director

Bruno Le Maire, Finance Minsiter, France

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

Maria Bartiromo, reporter and anchor Fox Business Network

Daniel Yergin, IHS Markit vice chair

Patrice Caine, CEO of Thales

Ronald O’Hanley, State Street President and COO

Dirk Hoke, Airbus CEO

Joe Kaeser, Siemens AG CEO

Marcelo Claure, Softbank COO

Update: This post is being updated as new information emerges.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, retail, personal finance, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has pulled out of FII