Some of the biggest names in global business and finance have canceled plans to attend an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week because of the unexplained disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, hasn’t been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Sources told CNN on Monday that Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge that Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong. Saudi authorities have so far maintained that Khashoggi left the consulate the same day of his visit, but have provided no evidence to support the claim.
The Saudi conference, known as “Davos in the desert,” is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to transform the oil-dependent economy.
JP Morgan (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon and the heads of America’s top investment firms — Blackrock (BLK) and Blackstone — are among the leading figures who have decided to stay away. Top executives at Ford (F) and MasterCard (MA) have also pulled out, and Google (GOOGL) said Tuesday that the head of its cloud computing business wouldn’t participate in the event either.
Three of Europe’s top bankers — the CEOs of HSBC (HSBC), Credit Suisse (CS) and Standard Chartered (SCBFF) — pulled out on Tuesday. The heads of the International Monetary Fund and the London Stock Exchange (LNSTY) also decided not to go. They were joined Wednesday by the chairman of BNP Paribas (BNPQY), France’s biggest bank.
The chief executives of several prominent Asian and European companies — some of whom have benefited from hefty Saudi investments — are still planning to attend, or are refusing to talk about their plans.
Here’s a list of big names who are still planning to participate:
- Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser
- EDF CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy
- Thales CEO Patrice Caine
These executives have not yet commented on whether they still plan to attend:
- SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son
- Accor CEO Sébastien Bazin
These are the high-profile participants who have pulled out of the Saudi conference:
- JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon
- Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford
- Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
- Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman
- Blackrock CEO Larry Fink
- MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga
- Viacom CEO Bob Bakish
- HSBC CEO John Flint
- Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam
- BNP Paribas Chairman Jean Lemierre
- Standard Chartered CEO William Winters
- London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer
- IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
- Thrive CEO Ariana Huffington
- Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene
- Sinovation Ventures CEO Kai-Fu Lee
- World Bank President Jim Yong Kim
- Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong
- Economist Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes
- New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin