World Economic Forum
Professor Klaus Schwab was born in
Ravensburg, Germany in 1938. He is the 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
In 1998, with his wife Hilde, he created
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
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 honors.
His latest books are The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016), a
worldwide bestseller translated into 30 languages, and Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018).
During the course of his wide-ranging
career, Schwab has received numerous honors. He holds 17 honorary doctorates,
and national medals of honor, 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
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.