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10 people everyone will be talking about at Davos 2015

1.Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Arguably the most important world leader gracing Davos this year, all eyes are likely to be on Chancellor Merkel who will appear at the forum on the same day the chief of the European Central Bank is likely to announce a fresh plan to rescue the single currency from deflation.

Germany has long been an ardent opponent of any attempts for the ECB to engage in the monetary financing of Europe’s governments, and the question is likely to be raised when Mrs Merkel addresses the Davos crowd on Thursday 22 of January in a session titled: ‘Global Responsibilities in a Digital Age’.

Picture: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses headphone during annual meeting of WEF in Davos

2.Harihuko Kuroda, governor of the Bank of Japan

Harihuko Kuroda has a good case for being the most important central banker in the world right now. The 70-year-old governor announced late last year that the Bank of Japan would be carrying out the most radical programme of quantitative easing ever seen in modern monetary history. Tasked with lifting Japan out of its near chronic stagnation, Mr Kuroda

He will be appearing at the WEF on Saturday January 24 to discuss the prospects for the global economy alongside some of his fellow central bankers.

Picture: Reuters

Head of the Bank of Japan, Harihuko Kuroda

3.Pharrell Williams, singer

One of the more unexpected famous faces to be gracing Davos this year, Pharrell Williams will be attending the forum in his capacity as creative director of Bionic Yarn, a New York City-based startup that makes fabric from recycled ocean plastic.

The ‘Happy’ singer will be appearing alongside the former vice-president of the United States and climate change activist, Al Gore on the first day of the forum.

Picture: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Pharrell Williams performs at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood

4.Will.i.am, musician

Another musical star to appear at Davos is Will.i.am. The musician and entrepreneur will be speaking about his charitable organisation, I.Am.Angel, which aims to help young entrepreneurs in underprivileged areas of America.

Picture: Rii Schroer

Singer, songwriter and judge on BBC One's The Voice, Will.i.am

5. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook

Perhaps the most prominent businesswoman at Davos this year, Ms Sandberg also served as chief of staff to one of our other most talkabout people, Larry Summers. Dubbed ‘the First Lady of Facebook’, Ms Sandberg was a member of the forum’s ‘Meeting of the New Champions’ in 2014 and will be joined by Google’s Eric Schmidt on a panel about the digital economy on Thursday.

Picture: TED/James Duncan Davidson

6. Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

Lauded as the woman who turned around the fortunes of GM, Mary Barra was also the first woman to ever head up one of the US’s Big Eight car-makers.

She will be the key speaker at a special session on Friday 23 where she will address the new technologies that are transforming the motor industry.

Picture: Reuters

7. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Mr Schmidt is one of the WEF’s five co-chairs this year, and will be on the platform to speak about the future of the digital economy along with Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook on Thursday 22.

Picture: Rex

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt

8. Bill & Melinda Gates

The world’s most philanthropic couple will be appearing at a special Davos session to talk about their eponymous global charitable foundation and how sustainable development can be advanced in the developing world. It will take place on Friday 23 and is chaired by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Picture: Reuters



Joint head of their eponymous Gates Foundation, Bill & Melinda

9. Sir Martin Sorrell, chairman of WPP

A veteran of the slopes, Sir Martin will be sitting alongside the head of the IMF in a BBC debate which aims to examine whether growth in the developed world is bridging inequality. The event, which will be televised, will take place on Friday 23, and is chaired by BBC Newsnight host, Evan Davies.

Picture: Geoff Pugh

The Telegraph Festival of Business Conference at the Brewery, Chiswell Street.
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive, WPP Group

10.George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer

Britain’s Chancellor will be hoping to have an easier time of it in Davos this year compared to two years ago, when his then austerity program was attacked by the IMF as “playing with fire” with the British economy. With the UK now one of the fastest growing economies in the G7, Mr Osborne will be addressing the question of Europe in a session called ‘Recharging Europe’ on Friday. He will be joined as a panellist by his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schauble, and the man who once profited from sterling’s economic collapse in 1992 – George Soros.

Chancellor George Osborne