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09 December 2023

Top executives stay away as crisis takes toll

By Agencies

Top executives from the major US and European banks have decided against going to global capitalism's big annual conference here, as the financial crisis takes its toll on the finance houses.

Barclays President Robert E Diamond, and Frits Seegers, CEO of global retail and commercial banking, pulled out of the World Economic Forum's meeting in Davos at the last minute. The news that they will stay home comes one day after Barclays said it was moving up the publication of its 2008 results to February 9 from February 17.

The work to get that done required attention in London, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Other prominent bankers have also decided not to make the trek to Davos this year, including Citigroup group CEO Vikram Pandit and Goldman Sachs Group CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Pandit is not attending because he has other commitments, according to a person close to the situation.

Others, such as former Merrill Lynch chief executive John Thain were forced to pull out. Thain resigned last week under pressure from Bank of America Corp, which recently bought Merrill.

Also pulling out was Axel Weber, Governor of the Bundesbank, Germany's central bank. A representative for Weber said he was sick. Michael Ducker, President of FedEx Corp, cancelled for family reasons, according to a spokeswoman.

Richard Fuld, the former chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings, who annually lectured more than a dozen of the world's top financial journalists on risk at the Hotel Seehof in Davos, also will not be at the meeting this week.

Martin J Sullivan, the ex-CEO of American International Group is on the no-show list, as is former UBS Chairman Marcel Ospel.