Who’s going to Davos? The unofficial list of Canadian World Economic Forum participants for 2020

Aerial photo of Davos, Switzerland, captured before the opening of the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum, Jan. 17, 2011.
Aerial photo of Davos, Switzerland, captured before the opening of the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum, Jan. 17, 2011. World Economic Forum

Donald Trump will be there. Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson won’t. The 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland is taking place next week against a backdrop of acute trade and geopolitical tension.

The Logic obtained an unofficial early list of registered delegates who are scheduled to attend, and has broken out participants with a Canadian connection. It includes those employed by a Canadian company or institution, or who have lived or worked in Canada for an extended period of time. Canadian employees of the World Economic Forum were not included.

Purchase a subscription to read the full article.

By entering your e-mail you consent to receiving commercial electronic messages from The Logic Inc. containing news, updates, offers or promotions about The Logic Inc.’s products and services. You can withdraw your consent at anytime. Please refer to our privacy policy or contact us for more details.

Already a subscriber?

Talking Point

Seventy-two Canadians are heading to the 50th annual World Economic Forum in Davos, according to an unofficial list obtained by The Logic. About a third of Canadian attendees work in the financial industry, including the chief executives of several of the country’s largest pension plans and institutional investors. The exclusive global networking event comes at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions: U.S. President Donald Trump will be making his first appearance on the global stage after being impeached, and amid escalating hostilities with Iran. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not attending for a second consecutive year.

Seventy-two Canadians will be heading to Davos for the 50th edition of the conference, taking place January 21 to 24. As The Logic first reported last week, Trudeau will be skipping the event for the second consecutive year, instead sending three cabinet ministers. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland will not be among them.

The unofficial Canadian delegation includes many familiar private-sector faces such as Mark Machin of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Tom Jenkins of OpenText, as well as returning executives from major energy firms like Suncor and Teck. Others will be making their Davos debuts, or attending in high-profile new roles, including the recently installed heads of two major Canadian institutional investors: Jo Taylor of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) and Investissement Québec’s Guy LeBlanc.

Trump is attending after skipping last year’s event due to a prolonged government shutdown. This will be his first appearance on the world stage since becoming the third American president to be impeached, and his first since a U.S. drone strike killed Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will also reportedly be in attendance.

They’ll be joined at the conference by tech leaders like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook; Masayoshi Son, whose SoftBank is deploying billions in venture capital; Salesforce’s Marc Benioff; Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi; and two key Alphabet executives new CEO Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki of YouTube.

The forum’s key discussion points this year will include climate change, technological disruption, sustainable industry transformation and employment.

Presented in alphabetical order below are the 72 Canadians heading to Davos. You can also click on the category name to jump to the sector of your choice.

Finance (22) | Government and policy (8) | Technology (7) | Resources and environment (10) | Media (3) | Pharmaceuticals (6) | Other sectors (9) | Academic and non-profit (7)


Alain Carrier
Senior Managing Director and Head of International and Europe
It’s been a busy year for the London-based executive’s portfolio, including contributing US$900 million to an investor group that bought satellite telecommunications firm Inmarsat for US$3.08 billion in March 2019, as well as cashing out a stake in Refinitiv when the London Stock Exchange Group acquired the data provider in August 2019.

Thomas DeRosa 
Chairman and CEO
The Toledo, Ohio-based publicly traded real estate firm is putting up a $72-million retirement residence in Toronto along with Chartwell, which is expected to open in early 2020.

Victor Dodig 
President and CEO
The financial institution’s Innovation Banking unit has increasing competition from its traditional Bay Street rivals, but it’s got lots of customers—it agreed to provide US$800 million in financing between January 2018 and April 2019, and has since announced more deals, like $1 million for product-sampling program platform Sampler and $1.5 million for construction app Bridgit in August 2019.

Robert Dorrance 
Chairman, CEO and President, TD Securities
TD Bank
While the bank topped the market for equity financings and mergers and acquisitions in 2018, it dropped out of the top two in the former business last year and came fifth in advising on takeovers involving Canadian companies.

Roy Gori 
President and CEO
The insurance and asset management giant’s chief executive has been in the job for over two years and has embarked on meeting several transformation goals by 2022, which includes accelerating growth in Asian insurance. In June, Manulife created a joint venture with India’s Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, a firm with more than six million customers and more than US$8.5 billion in assets under management.

Tawfik Hammoud 
Global Leader for Principal Investors and Private Equity Practice
Boston Consulting Group
The Toronto-based executive is board chair of BCG Digital Ventures, the firm’s in-house incubator. He previously led the firm’s Canadian telecommunications, media and technology practice, and is also on the board of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Judy Hsu 
Regional CEO for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and South Asia
Standard Chartered Bank
The longtime financial services executive, who grew up in Canada, spent 18 years at Citi before taking over Standard Chartered’s global wealth management business in 2009. The company has recently tested a digital banking offering aimed at millennials in Hong Kong, and is considering applying for a licence to bring it to Singapore, where Hsu is based.

Don Lam 
Co-Founder and CEO
Lam grew up in Toronto and Edmonton, but returned to Vietnam to help start the investment firm with US$3.3 billion in assets under management. In October 2019, VinaCapital said its flagship fund was evaluating 21 private equity deals valued at a combined US$626 million.

Guy LeBlanc 
President and CEO
Investissement Québec
The former PwC executive was named head of the province’s investment arm in April 2019. The M&A specialist takes over with $1 billion in extra funding to work with, and as the Quebec government conducts a review of the organization’s business model. His appointment was controversial because of his friendship with Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, though he was chosen by a selection committee.

Kevin Lynch 
BMO Financial Group
The chair of SNC-Lavalin and former clerk of the Privy Council made headlines in 2019 after being featured in Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion’s report about the federal government’s dealings with the Quebec-based engineering giant. According to a House of Commons justice committee hearing, Lynch telephoned then-Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick to seek a remediation agreement, asking, “Isn’t there anything that can be done?” In May of that year, Lynch also reportedly quit as the only non-Chinese director of China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Mark Machin 
President and CEO
The national pension plan is “embracing disruption,” according to Machin, by investing in companies like Zoox, an autonomous vehicle firm, and Square Capital, the lending division of the payment firm. It staffed up a new San Francisco office in September 2019, including hiring a former Facebook executive to lead its venture capital funds program.

Bharat Masrani 
President and CEO
TD Bank
In March 2019, the financial institution amended Masrani’s compensation agreement to include incentives to stay on past 2020, signalling it wants to keep hold of its chief executive. Earnings in Canada’s banking sector dropped in 2019, and Masrani said in December that he expected “the operating environment to remain challenging” this year. TD is also set to exit its online brokerage business Ameritrade, via a US$26-billion all-stock deal with Charles Schwab.

John McCall MacBain 
Pamoja Capital
In February 2019, the Switzerland-based Canadian billionaire announced a $200-million scholarship fund to cover the tuition and living expenses of 50 Canadian and 25 international students at Montreal’s McGill University. McCall MacBain has also underwritten more than 100 Rhodes Scholarships at the University of Oxford.

David McKay
President and CEO
McKay has assured investors that the bank is geared up for “a challenging macro environment” in the new year as it deals with a decline in its 2019 fourth-quarter profits, uncertainty in trade relations and economic growth and increased competitiveness in banking from tech companies.

Jean Raby
Natixis Investment Managers
The dual Canadian-French citizen is also on the boards of SNC-Lavalin and Fiera Capital, an investment management firm listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Michael Sabia 
President and CEO
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
After 11 years leading the Quebec pension fund manager, Sabia is leaving to head the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto in February. Under his watch, the Caisse delivered average annual returns of 9.9 per cent over a decade while net assets almost tripled, from $120.1 billion in 2008 to $326.7 billion, as of June 2019.

Frank Sobey 
Crombie REIT
Empire Company, Crombie REIT’s largest unit holder and the parent company of the Sobeys grocery chains, reported earnings of $154.6 million in its latest quarter, up from $103.8 million in the same quarter in 2018. Empire has been focusing on innovation: it has a partnership with British tech giant Ocado to usher in a new online grocery delivery service called Voilà, and introduced Canada’s first smart cart.

John Stackhouse 
Senior Vice-President
The former Globe and Mail editor-in-chief has called for labour policies to adapt to rapid automation across industries

Jo Taylor 
President and CEO
Taylor took the top job at the start of this year, having previously run OTPP’s investments in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific—key experience as it, like many institutional investors, diversifies internationally. OTPP is becoming increasingly tech-focused, launching a Toronto-based incubator with Boston Consulting Group and setting up Teachers’ Innovation Platform, which has invested in big names like SpaceX as well as startups like video doctor app Kry.

Bill Thomas 
Global Chairman
KPMG International
Thomas has been leading the digital transformation of the international audit firm. Last month, KPMG announced a US$5-billion five-year agreement with Microsoft that will see it adopt the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based and productivity tools.

Shamus Weiland 
Global Chief Information Officer
Weiland joined the insurance company in April 2019, as part of a major organizational reshuffle designed in part to help it use technology better. He was previously CIO for several regions of Citigroup’s consumer banking business. Manulife’s banking subsidiary has launched new digital products designed to poach millennial account holders from traditional financial institutions.

Darryl White 
BMO Financial Group
White, a former investment banker, has promised “ongoing accountability” after the bank reported lower net income due to deep internal restructuring that impacted five per cent of its workforce—about 2,300 employees.

Back to top

Government and policy

Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Government of Canada
Bains has used the WEF stage to announce major projects under the flagship Strategic Innovation Fund in each of the last two years.

Mark Carney 
Bank of England
The former Bank of Canada governor is planning a return to Ottawa. His time at Britain’s central bank will end on March 15, after the Conservative government named a replacement in Andrew Bailey following repeated delays over Brexit. In December 2019, Carney was named UN special envoy on climate and finance, a subject he’s championed in recent years.

Fang Liu
Secretary General
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
The Montreal-based UN aviation body came under fire in early 2019 after the CBC reported Liu hadn’t investigated staff who reportedly made its system vulnerable to the largest cyberattack in its history in 2016. In March, the body is set to determine a guideline for carbon offsets to be used by the aviation industry.

Goldy Hyder 
President and CEO
Business Council of Canada
Under Hyder, the country’s CEO lobby has increasingly focused on innovation issues, engaging former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore to lead work on data policy recommendations, and convincing members to promise to match U.S. peers’ investments in training by 2025.

François Legault 
Government of Quebec
The provincial government is predicting a $4-billion surplus for 2019–20, and Legault, who is heading to Davos for the second consecutive year, is continuing to seek new investment from sectors like filmmaking. In November 2019, the premier said his government would consider investing in a Quebec competitor to Amazon. But the tech sector could be hurt by immigration changes pushed by Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec.

Bill Morneau
Minister of Finance
Government of Canada
Canada could be drawn into an ongoing dispute between the U.S. and France over the latter’s new digital services tax, which targets Big Tech. The Trump administration has threatened US$2.4 billion in retaliatory tariffs in response to the measure, and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are due to meet in Davos. The Liberals promised a similar tax during last fall’s election.

Mary Ng
Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
Government of Canada
Then-international trade minister Jim Carr spent last year’s WEF working on a Canada-led effort to reform the World Trade Organization, which has been incapacitated by the U.S. blocking appointments to its appeals body. Ng’s mandate from Trudeau includes advancing that work.

Autumn Peltier 
Chief Water Commissioner
The Anishinabek Nation
Admiringly called “water warrior,” the 15-year-old has addressed the United Nations twice, demanding world leaders improve access to clean water.

Back to top


Gordon Davies 
Executive Vice-President, Chief Legal Officer and Head of Corporate Development
Davies has been part of the company’s legal counsel for over a decade and was named one of Canada’s most influential general counsels in September 2019.

J. Michael Evans 
The e-commerce giant’s Evans-led non-China business has been expanding, offering lower fees on AliExpress than Amazon in Europe to sign up sellers, and allowing U.S. merchants onto In July 2019, the company told The Logic that access for firms in Evans’s native Canada would soon also be given access.

James Etheredge 
Chief Executive of North America
The career Accenture employee was chosen to lead the consulting firm’s U.S. and Canadian operations in July 2019.

Tom Jenkins
Board Chair
Jenkins is an innovation policy expert who has been with OpenText for 26 years, having served as president, CEO, chief strategy officer and now board chair.

Lance Uggla 
Chairman and CEO
IHS Markit
The London-based information company is continuing to expand internationally, signing a deal with the BSE in December 2019 to create a new bond valuation service. Canadian Uggla founded Markit in 2003, merged it with IHS in 2016, and became CEO in January 2018.

Bernadette Wightman 
Managing Director of Banking and Financial Services
The longtime tech executive returned to the U.K. in 2018 to work for the telecom firm after almost four years leading Cisco’s Canadian operations, including opening a $100-million Internet of Things innovation centre in Toronto.

Michelle Zatlyn 
Co-Founder and COO
The San Francisco-based security company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2019. The stock has performed well so far, bucking last year’s trend of poorly performing tech offerings. “We want to build a long-term, sustainable company and we definitely believe that building a profitable company is part of that,” Zatlyn told The Logic.

Back to top

Resources and environment

Eric Axford 
Executive Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer
Suncor Energy
Axford, Suncor’s first chief sustainability officer, is retiring in May. As CSO he was tasked with helping the company meet its goal of a 30 per cent reduction by 2030 in the total greenhouse gas emissions intensity of its production of oil and petroleum products. Suncor’s current major projects include $1.4 billion to replace coke-fired power generators with natural-gas versions at its oilsands base plant in Fort McMurray, Alta., and a $300-million wind farm in the province’s southeastern area.

Ross Beaty 
Director and Chairman
Pan American Silver
Beaty, chairman and founder of Vancouver-based mining giant Equinox Gold, struck gold—literally—in 2019 after acquiring rival Leagold in a US$670-million deal. The new company, which will keep the Equinox name, will have a market capitalization of around $1.75 billion. Beaty is also an environmental philanthropist.

John M. Beck 
Executive Chairman
The construction company headed into 2020 with three new contracts worth a total of $690 million in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, one of which includes constructing 49 kilometres of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project around Edmonton.

Martha Hall Findlay 
Chief Sustainability Officer
Suncor Energy
Findlay joined Suncor this month from the Canada West Foundation, where she had been CEO. With Eric Axford retiring in May, she is transitioning into the CSO job; in the interim they both hold the title. In an interview with The Globe and Mail prior to the announcement of her move, the former Liberal MP said decisions to divest fully from the oil and gas sector were “completely misguided,” and “that being at the table can accomplish more than simply vacating the space.”

Stephane Germain 
President and CEO
Born and raised in Montreal, Germain started in Quebec’s space industry before founding GHGSat to help companies reduce emissions via carbon-counting satellites. The company received $3.3 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada in 2019 to measure the emissions of oil and gas facilities in British Columbia’s Montney region. The project has a total value of $9.8 million, and will begin this year.

Don Lindsay 
President and CEO
Teck Resources
Lindsay is a former investment banker who has led Teck since 2005 and is navigating some major uncertainty heading into 2020. The Vancouver-based mining company aims to reduce approximately $500 million in spending by the end of the year. It has also found itself in the crosshairs of a political struggle between Alberta and the federal Liberals over the approval of its $20.6-billion Frontier oilsands mine. The federal government will decide the project’s fate by the end of February.

Mark Little
President and CEO
Suncor Energy
Little took the helm of the Calgary-based energy giant in May 2019 at a trying time for the oilpatch. He has pushed an innovation-based agenda, spearheading a deal with Microsoft to move the company’s operations to cloud computing, a first for the oilsands. He’s also vowed to spend $1.4 billion on cleantech upgrades.

Éric Martel 
Hydro Québec
Martel, a former Bombardier executive, took the top job at Canada’s largest electrical utility in 2015 with a focus on adapting its operations to the climate crisis. Hydro Québec is looking to export hydropower to Massachusetts, and to build solar generating stations in Quebec’s La Prairie and Varennes this spring. It has also partnered with Desjardins to open the province’s first electric vehicle-charging “superstation.”

William Cowan 
President of Global Government Affairs and Policy
Cowan’s portfolio includes oversight of the firm’s Canadian national executive team. The lawyer served as an interim senator representing Massachusetts for five months in 2013.

Marcia M. Smith 
Senior Vice-President of Sustainability and External Affairs
Teck Resources
Smith took this position in January 2012 after a career in PR, and is leading a push toward sustainable and innovative change within the company’s operations.

Back to top


Molly Burke 
YouTuber, Motivational Speaker, Author and Commercial Model
Molly Burke Corporation
Oakville, Ont.-raised Burke’s YouTube channel has 1.95 million subscribers and has attracted brands like Dove, Samsung and Audible. She posts personal videos, most involving her service dog, Gallop.

Elena Cherney 
Coverage Planning Editor
The Wall Street Journal
A former member of The Globe and Mail’s masthead, Cherney is in her second stint at The Journal.

David Walmsley
The Globe and Mail
Appointed to the paper’s top job in March 2014, Walmsley has been a member of the WEF’s 100-member International Media Council. He’s been at Davos each of the last four editions of the conference.

Back to top


Susanne Fiedler 
President, Europe and Canada
Merck, as the company is more commonly known, was the third-largest pharmaceutical company in Canada in 2017, with sales of $1.31 billion.

Rob ten Hoedt 
Executive Vice-President and President of Europe, Middle East and Africa
Since 2009, Hoedt has been the medical technology company’s top leader in Canada.

Brandt C. Louie 
President and CEO
H.Y. Louie
The Vancouver billionaire heads British Columbia’s second-largest retail company, which owns London Drugs, and runs two family foundations.

Jeffrey May 
President of Global Public Policy
Merck has a large biologics business, which could be negatively impacted by the removal of patent-term extensions and other measures in the updated USMCA, to which the three countries agreed in December 2019.

Iskra Reic 
Executive Vice-President of Europe and Canada
Reic is responsible for the pharmaceutical company’s operations in Europe and Canada.

Costa Saroukos 
Takeda Pharmaceutical
Saroukos has been with Takeda since May 2015 as CFO of the Europe and Canada business unit.

Back to top

Other sectors

Carol Cruickshank 
Partner of Americas Leadership
A.T. Kearney
The Queen’s and Western University alum has been with the global management consulting firm since 1999, as manager, principal and now partner. The firm has identified the deployment of 5G technology and the climate crisis as the top economic issues of 2020.

Nando Cesarone 
President of International
The Toronto-raised executive previously led the logistics firm’s divisions in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North-East Europe.

Martine Ferland
Ferland took over as head of the HR consulting firm in March 2019. Before joining Mercer, she led Towers Watson’s Canadian business.

Michael Frank 
President and CEO of Nutrien Ag Solutions
The subsidiary operates over 1,500 retail outlets worldwide, including more than 220 in Western Canada. Last week, its parent company agreed to buy Agrosema Comercial Agricola, a major player in Brazil, where Nutrien Ag Solutions has several facilities.

Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo 
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Houngbo, a Canadian citizen, is the former prime minister of Togo, a longtime UN staffer and a past PwC Canada employee. Canada is an IFAD founding member.

Elie Maalouf 
CEO of Americas
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)
Major lodging operators continue to expand in Canada despite the challenge from short-term rentals like Airbnb. Lodging Econometrics estimated there were 273 projects with 35,787 rooms in the construction pipeline as of the second quarter of 2019; IHG had the third most, with 45 under-construction hotels containing 4,328 rooms.

Chuck Magro 
President and CEO
The Calgary-based head of the Saskatchewan company has been calling for changes to make the Canadian economy more competitive. In October 2019, a Business Council of Canada initiative he co-led recommended Ottawa launch a third-party review of the tax system and create independent agencies to advise it on regulatory reform and infrastructure spending.

Benjamin Smith 
Air France-KLM
The former Air Canada executive is the first non-French CEO to lead the airline. Appointed in 2018, he is trying to streamline the airline’s global operations, including “rationalizing and modernizing” the fleet to more energy-efficient planes.

Carolyn Tastad 
Group President of North America and Chief Sales Officer (CSO)
Procter & Gamble
Tastad took the CSO title in July 2019, adding to her responsibilities for the consumer packaged-goods giant’s business in the U.S. and Canada. The University of Saskatchewan alumna is also on the board of Kellogg.

Back to top

Academic and non-profit

Suzanne Fortier
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
McGill University
Fortier wears several hats in the business and innovation community, also serving on Finance Minister Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth.

Feridun Hamdullahpur
Board Director
The University of Waterloo president has overseen significant investments to the university’s engineering capabilities in 2019, including a $2.1-million donation from Toyota, along with a three-year partnership with Rogers to create central Canada’s first smart campus.

Ashish Mohan 
Global Shaper
Halifax Hub
Mohan is an RBC analyst.

Maya Roy 
YWCA Canada
Roy was appointed in 2017 as the head of the largest and oldest women’s organization of its kind in the country. She was named a Recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 for 2019.

Kim Samuel 
Chair and President of the Samuel Family Foundation, Director
Samuel Group
Founded in 1855, the Samuel Group is a metals and industrial products manufacturer, processor and distributor.

Share the full article!
Send to a friend


Thanks for sharing!

You have shared 5 articles this month and reached the maximum amount of shares available.

This account has reached its share limit.

If you would like to purchase a sharing license please contact The Logic support at [email protected].

Want to share this article?

Upgrade to all-access now


Robyn Seetal 
Global Shaper
Calgary Hub
Seetal, a sustainability consultant, is a co-founder and board treasurer of Local Investing YYC, an impact investment co-operative that advocates for the diversification of Calgary’s economy.

Stephen Toope 
University of Cambridge
The Canadian legal scholar has called for “financial discipline” at the university. Under his leadership, the institution, along with two others, co-founded the Responsible Investment Network – Universities, which Toope described as the university’s “next step forward” in its commitment to the global energy transition. Toope was previously director of the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, as well as president and vice-chancellor of the University of British Columbia.

Back to top

Continue the conversation on The Logic Council, our subscriber-only Slack channel.