Always a polarising event, this year's World Economic Forum already appears more loathed than loved, after a tumultuous 12 months that appeared to upend the established political order.

The Davos elite consensus, often criticised for being too smug for its own good, was spectacularly debunked in 2016, thanks to such events as the Brexit vote, the failed Italian referendum and — of course — Donald Trump's election victory. 

Trump was certainly a topic of conversation at last year's event, but few of the world's business and academic leaders took his prospects of winning seriously. A notable exception was Sir Martin Sorrell, who presciently warned that Davos' "rarefied atmosphere' should not distract from the way that disaffected people have thrown their weight behind Trump, allowing the businessman to "create the biggest brand in the world." 

That populist backlash makes it hard to describe Davos as a harbinger of things to come. The World Economic Forum also failed to forecast the financial crisis of 2008, and Harvard professor Kenneth Rogoff believes that "the conventional wisdom of Davos is always wrong."

Is Davos, and its champagne-swilling devotion to frictionless capitalism, part of the problem? Perhaps. Although several communications leaders I asked — including Richard Edelman, Ketchum's David Gallagher and Tata Consultancy Services CMO Abhinav Kumar — believe that WEF's unique combination of business, political and NGO leaders is the only forum that can credibly address the intractable problems the world currently faces. 

Quartz reporter Jenny Anderson, on our Echo Chamber podcast, believes that Davos can hardly be deemed irrelevant, but cautions against taking the event too seriously. It is above all, says Anderson, a forum for deal-making and networking. 

Maybe so, but the event's optics do not necessarily lend themselves to the notion that the global elite is in touch with the rest of the world's problems. And Davos could certainly benefit from demonstrating that it can move from soaring rhetoric about responsible leadership and workforce challenges to concrete action that addresses profound volatility and inequality.

It is, in short, a classic public relations problem, albeit one that requires some rather sophisticated skills in today's "post-truth" information landscape.

So it is no surprise that senior agency and in-house communications executives will again flock to this year's event. Much of their activity is focused on supporting the various business leaders in attendance, but the Davos agenda — always rich with discussions about the purpose of business — can offer considerable insight into the bigger public relations issues that are likely to dominate the corporate agenda in 2017.

Those issues, you could argue, are more important than ever — at a time when corporate values that may have seemed safe and relatively anodyne a few months ago — tolerance, diversity, inclusion — are suddenly controversial, and potentially expensive.

Thanks, once again, to some excellent work from David Yanofsky at Quartz, I've researched exactly who is on the official attendee list. The results, in no particular order, are below, and demonstrate the event's geographic diversity and its ability to attract senior figures from the corporate and agency worlds, spanning public affairs, corporate communications, marketing and CSR. Note that many of our Influence 100 list are present, for example.

Bear in mind that these are only official Summit attendees, there will be many more industry names taking part as 'unofficial' delegates. Here is my working list, please do let me know if I've left you off, and follow along with all of our Davos coverage here.


Kate James
Chief Corporate Affairs Officer
Pearson Plc

Yutaka Shimazaki
Corporate Officer; General Manager, Executive Secretariat, Corporate Communications
Marubeni Corporation

Mark MacGann
Group Chief External Affairs Officer, Member of the Group Executive Committee
VimpelCom Ltd

Jennifer Scardino
Global Head, International Communications

William Sheedy 
Global Executive, Corporate Strategy, M&A, Government Relations
Visa Inc.

Mette Fossum Beyer 
Director, Global Communications, Government and Corporate Social Responsibility 
REMA 1000

Andrey Shtorkh 
Member of the Executive Board; Director, Strategic Communications
Renova Group

Elaine Weidman Grunewald
Senior Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson

Keith Weed 
Chief Marketing Communications Officer 

Joseph Naylor
Vice-President, Policy, Government and Public Affairs
Chevron Corporation

Tony Cervone 
Senior Vice-President, Global Communications
General Motors Company

Marcela Hawn
Senior Vice-President and Chief Communications Officer
Centene Corporation

Henry Gomez 
Executive Vice-President, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer 
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 

Michael Mendenhall
Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Communications Officer

Julie Louise Gerberding
Executive Vice-President, Strategic Communications, Global Public Policy and Population Health 

Neill Coleman 
Vice-President, Global Communications 
The Rockefeller Foundation

Elizabeth G. Chambers
Chief Strategy, Product and Marketing Officer
The Western Union Company

Elinor Steele
Vice-President, Global Communications and Women's Initiatives
Tupperware Brands Corporation

Penelope Naas
Senior Vice-President, International Public Affairs and Sustainability
UPS Europe

Rosemary O'Brien 
Vice-President, Public Affairs 
CF Industries Holdings Inc.

Kim Metcalf-Kupres
Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer
Johnson Controls Inc.

Burke Norton
Chief Legal Officer; Chief, Corporate and Government Affairs

Elliot Schrage 
Vice-President, Communications and Policy
Facebook Inc. 

Regine Sixt
Senior Executive Vice-President, International Marketing
Sixt SE

Miki Tsusaka
Senior Partner, Managing Director and Global Marketing Leader
The Boston Consulting Group

Lauren Flaherty
Executive Vice-President and Chief Marketing Officer
CA Technologies

Elaine J. Dorward-King
Executive Vice-President, Sustainability and External Relations
Newmont Mining Corporation

Karim A. Lesina
Vice-President, International External Affairs, EU, Caribbean, Central and Latin America, Trans-Atlantic Relations

Yoshitake Yamaguchi
General Manager, Government and External Relations Office
Toshiba Corporation

Michael Goltzman
Vice-President, International Government Relations and Public Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

Jeremy Goon
Chief Sustainability Officer
Wilmar International Limited

Niklas Gustafsson
Chief Sustainability Officer
AB Volvo

Elaine Weidman Grunewald
Vice-President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson

Abdullateef Al Sharikh 
Head, Corporate Communications 
Alghanim Industries 

Mark Henderson 
Director, Communications 
The Wellcome Trust 

Svetlana Mironyuk
Senior Vice-President; Head, Marketing and Communications 

Liu Mingsheng
President of Corporate Communications
Dalian Wanda Group Business Management Co. Ltd

Ainojie Irune
Director, Strategy and Communications 
Oando Plc

Jamie Smith
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer 
BitFury Group

Michael Gonda
Vice-President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
Chobani LLC

Mark Klein
Senior Vice-President, Corporate Communications, Public Affairs and External Relations 
Dignity Health

Aida Greenbury
Managing Director, Sustainability and Stakeholder Engagement
PT Purinusa Ekapersada

Christopher Lake
Vice-President; Head, International Government Relations
S&P Global Ratings

Krysta Harden
Vice-President, Policy, Government Affairs; Chief Sustainability Officer

Steve Howard
Chief Sustainability Officer 
IKEA Group

Marcia M. Smith
Senior Vice-President, Sustainability and External Affairs 
Teck Resources Limited

Niall Dunne
Chief Sustainability Officer
BT Group Plc 


Steven H. Gunby 
President and Chief Executive Officer 
FTI Consulting Inc.

Chris Osborne
Co-Chairman, Europe, Middle East and Africa
FTI Consulting
United Kingdom

Almira Zejnilagic
Managing Director
FTI Consulting

Matthew J. Harrington 
Global Chief Operating Officer 

Richard W. Edelman 
President and Chief Executive Officer 

Russell Dubner
President and Chief Executive Officer

Barri Rafferty
Senior Partner; Chief Executive Officer, North America
Ketchum Inc.

Kathy Bloomgarden 
Chief Executive Officer 
Ruder Finn Inc.

Margery Kraus 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer 
APCO Worldwide Inc.

Roland Rudd 

Sir Martin Sorrell 
Chief Executive Officer 

Michael I. Roth 
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 
Interpublic Group

John Wren 
President and Chief Executive Officer 
Omnicom Group Inc.

Serge Dumont 
Chairman, Asia-Pacific; Vice-Chairman 
Omnicom Group Inc.

Rishad Tobaccowala
Chief Strategist
Publicis Groupe

Maurice Lévy 
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 
Publicis Groupe SA

Steve King
Chief Executive Officer
Publicis Media

Arthur Sadoun
Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Worldwide
Publicis Groupe SA

Tetsuji Hirose
Executive Officer
Dentsu Inc.

Nigel Morris 
Chief Executive Officer, 
Dentsu Aegis Network Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa

Jerry Buhlmann 
Chief Executive Officer 
Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd United Kingdom 

Valerie Scoular 
Group Human Resources Director 
Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd

Andrew Robertson
President and Chief Executive Officer
BBDO Worldwide

Troy Ruhanen
President and Chief Executive Officer 
TBWA Worldwide