Klaus Martin Schwab (German pronunciation: [klaʊs ˈmaʁtiːn ʃvaːp]; born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Schwab was professor of business policy at the University of Geneva from 1972 to 2003, and since then has been an Honorary Professor there. Since 1979, he has published the Global Competitiveness Report, an annual report assessing the potential for increasing productivity and economic growth of countries around the world, written by a team of economists. The report is based on a methodology developed by Schwab, measuring competitiveness not only in terms of productivity but also based on sustainability criteria. During the earlier years of his career, he served on a number of company boards, such as The Swatch Group, The Daily Mail Group, and Vontobel Holding. He is a former member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.
Founder of World Economic Forum
In 1971, Schwab founded the European Management Forum, (which in 1987 became the World Economic Forum — often referred to simply as "Davos", the name of the town where the forum is hosted each year). In 1971, he also 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 both shareholders and corporate stakeholders (die Interessenten), to achieve long-term growth and prosperity. Schwab has championed the multistakeholder concept since the WEF's inception. In 2015, the WEF was formally recognised by the Swiss Government as an "international body". Schwab appointed José María Figueres as CEO of the World Economic Forum, with the intent that Figueres would be his successor. In October 2004, however, Figueres resigned over his undeclared receipt of more than US$900,000 in consultancy fees from the French telecommunications firm Alcatel. In 2006, Transparency International highlighted this incident in their Global Corruption Report. In 2004, Schwab created a new foundation using the US$1 million prize money from the Dan David Prize. In 2011, he founded the Global Shapers Community, a global network of local communities, or "hubs", of young people, called "shapers", aged 20 to 30, who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribution to their communities. As of September 2021, 444 "hubs" had been created comprising 10,600 "shapers".