Sense of change dominates range of discussions

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 12:00am

The Forbes Global CEO Conference will discuss some weighty topics over the three days. With its theme of 'Reassessing the business blueprint', the conference has been loosely framed on the way shifts in policies, markets and technologies are changing the business environment.

According to Forbes, shareholders and consumers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding, bringing corporate responsibility to the fore.

The first speaking event on the conference agenda promises to set the tone for the remainder of the three days. 'A meeting of minds' will be a three-way discussion between Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, Forbes president Steve Forbes and Caspar Weinberger, Forbes chairman and former United States defence secretary.

Mr Weinberger delivers the keynote presentation on the second day. 'The Art of War and Politics - one year on' will be a discussion of the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the US response from a man with direct experience of the US defence apparatus.

Later on the first day, Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung joins Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University's Graduate School of Business, Chang Sun, managing director of Warburg Pincus Asia and Clark Winter of Citigroup Private Bank in 'reassessing the global financial outlook'.

The panelists will examine the strength of the US economic recovery, the future for beleaguered Japan and China's continuing rise as a global trade and manufacturing power.

Scheduled directly after the global economy session is what promises to be a lively exchange of ideas from two well-known high-technology authorities - George Gilder, chairman of Gilder Publishing and an accomplished technology author, and Guy Kawasaki, an Apple Computer pioneer and now chief executive of Garage Technology Ventures.

Next on the agenda is China trade in the post-WTO environment, a topic of considerable interest as China brings its laws and procedures into line with international trade standards.

Tomorrow's afternoon session starts with a panel discussion on 'Technology: What's hot and what's not for your business?' Executives will hear the latest on emerging and proven technologies from Stan Shih, chairman and chief executive of The Acer Group, John Chen, president and chief executive of Sybase, and Thomas Noonan, president and chief executive of Internet Security Systems.

The conference takes a more leisurely direction with the next item on the programme, a discussion on 'The Forbes Global Life: Investing the spoils of success.' Trends in private wealth management will be discussed by Citigroup Private Bank chief executive Peter Scaturro, Quanta Computer chief Barry Lam, and Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corp.

On the final day of the conference, Steve Forbes kicks off with a keynote presentation on 'Reassessing the global economic and political outlook.'

Following this, 'The new China entrepreneur' promises an inside view on some of the forces driving China's new enterprises: the builders of the new shape of China's economy. Vernon Ellis, international chairman of Accenture, Hui Wing-mau, chairman of Shimao Group and Yang Lan, chairperson of Sun Media Group, will reveal some of their business plans and strategies for the China market.

As the conference nears its conclusion, challenges for Asian companies in retaining their best talent will be examined by a panel that includes Bill Henderson, managing partner of Egon Zehnder International, and Margie Yang, chairman and chief executive of Esquel Group.

The final items on the conference agenda include an address by Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and a panel discussion on corporate governance in Asia, titled 'Avoiding Asia's Enrons - making Asia's corporate governance world-class'.