More than 130 corporate chiefs from around the world are descending on Seattle starting today — but don’t expect to hear much, if anything, from them over the next three days.
The occasion is Microsoft’s CEO Summit, an annual gathering now in its 16th year. It’s an opportunity for Steve Ballmer and other Microsoft executives to host some of the biggest names in business — providing a forum for discussing broad topics in economics and technology, while making sure that Microsoft’s own products and interests are on the radar.
Attendees this year include: Ursula Burns, Xerox CEO; Mike Duke, Wal-Mart CEO; Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post; Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx; Steve Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group; Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway; Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford; Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev; and Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric Co.
Microsoft released those names but traditionally doesn’t give out the full attendee list.
Noticeably absent is Jamie Dimon, the JP Morgan Chase CEO, a past attendee who has his hands full with other matters this week. Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, also is preoccupied, given the company’s impending initial public offering.
In the early years of the event, journalists were allowed in for a portion of the proceedings, but these days, the CEO Summit is closed, with no webcast planned for Steve Ballmer’s address on Wednesday morning.
Microsoft provided this description of Ballmer’s talk: “Periodically, a company will break through with a new product or service and captivate the hearts of the masses. Breaking through repeatedly requires focus coupled with discipline, passion and tenacity. Steve will explore these principles and discuss Microsoft’s journey pursuing a new phase of growth.”