The World Economic Forum (WEF) is set to expand with the addition of 120 staff and a new wing at its Geneva headquarters, WEF President Klaus Schwab has revealed.
The WEF founder and executive chairman told the Swiss business magazine Bilanz in an interview published on Friday that the expansion plans at WEF’s headquarters would be finalised for the nonprofit organisation’s 50th birthday in 2020.
Founded by Klaus Schwab in 1971, WEF operations concentrate on Geneva, a purpose-built and highly secure centre sunk into a hillside in the exclusive district of Cologny overlooking the lake. It also has offices in New York, Beijing, Tokyo and San Francisco.
The Geneva headquarters were completed in 1998 and extended in 2010. It currently employs around 700 people.
Schwab announced two weeks ago that the board of trustees had nominated Børge Brende, Norway’s foreign minister, to take over from Schwab as WEF president operating in a new role. He should leave his current post in mid-October. Schwab will work closely with Brende and as WEF's executive chairman remains responsible for the strategic direction of the international organisation.
Former 'European Management Symposium'
The WEF was initially started by Schwab at Davos under the name “European Management Symposium”. It was designed to connect European business leaders to their counterparts in the United States to find ways of boosting connections and solving problems.
It is funded by the varying subscription fees of its members.
The forum took its current name in 1987 as it broadened its horizons to provide a platform for finding solutions to international disputes. WEF claims to have helped calm disputes between Turkey and Greece, North and South Korea, East and West Germany and in South Africa during the apartheid regime.
WEF conducts detailed global and country-specific reports and conducts other research for its members. It also hosts several annual meetings – the flagship being Davos at the beginning of each year which attracts politicians, business people and celebrities.