Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Professor Klaus Schwab was born in Ravensburg, Germany in 1938. He is Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
He founded the Forum in 1971, the same year in which he published Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau (Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering). In that book, he argued that the management of a modern enterprise must serve not only shareholders but all stakeholders (die Interessenten), to achieve long-term growth and prosperity. Schwab has championed the multistakeholder concept since the Forum’s inception, and it has become the world’s foremost platform for public and private cooperation. Under his leadership, the Forum has been a driver for reconciliation efforts in different parts of the world, acting as a catalyst of numerous collaborations and international initiatives. (See the history page for more information).
In 1998, with his wife Hilde, he created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, which seeks to identify, recognize and disseminate initiatives in social entrepreneurship that have significantly improved people’s lives and have the potential to be replicated on a global scale. The Foundation supports a network of over 350 social entrepreneurs around the world.
In 2004, with the financial contribution received as part of the Dan David Prize, he established a new foundation: the Forum of Young Global Leaders (for leaders under 40). Seven years later, in 2011, he created the Global Shapers Community (for potential leaders between the ages of 20 and 30). The purpose of the two foundations is to integrate young people as a strong voice for the future into global decision-making processes and to encourage their engagement in concrete projects that address social problems.
Schwab has encouraged the establishment of communities providing global expertise and knowledge for problem-solving. Among them is the Network of Global Future Councils, the world’s foremost interdisciplinary knowledge network dedicated to promoting innovative thinking on the future.
The Forum employs over 700 people, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and additional offices in New York, San Francisco, Beijing and Tokyo.
An engineer and economist by training, Professor Klaus Schwab holds doctorates in Economics (summa cum laude) from the University of Fribourg, in Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and a Masters of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 1972 he became one of the youngest professors on the faculty of the University of Geneva. He has received numerous international and national honours.
During the course of his wide-ranging career, Schwab has received numerous honours. He holds 17 honorary doctorates, and national medals of honour, including the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun of Japan, the Grand Cross with Star of the National Order of Germany and the Knight of the Légion d’Honneur of France. He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II – Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG).
Outside his work, he has a broad range of academic, cultural and public service interests. He is a regular swimmer, mountain walker and an enthusiastic participant in the Engadin Ski Marathon. Klaus and Hilde married in 1971. They have two children and two grandchildren.