Microsoft CEO Summit: Immelt, Huffington, Buffett and other titans in town

Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Clayton Christensen at a past Microsoft CEO Summit. (Microsoft file photo)

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.”

  • http://twitter.com/puckyourself Joe McGrath

    Very rare you see Huffington’s name considered on par with CEOs of real companies and not the editors-in-chief of blogs run by AOL.

    • JH

      Yes, all she did was build a media brand from nothing to $315m in 6 years ….what’s noteworthy about that?

  • Guest

    Are any of these CEOs on Google+? I’d love to participate in a Hangout as part of this CEO Summit.

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    I don’t know if Forbes planned it this way, but it is kind of funny that three of the five CEO’s in Adam Hartung’s article are at this:

    Ballmer, Microsoft; Immelt, GE, and Duke, WalMat.

    They’re just missing Chambers, Cisco and Lampert, Sears.

    • Guest

      If he’d picked the five worst A-list stars, would you have similarly found it funny that most of those attended the Oscars?

      • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

        It’s a bigger roster of folks but I would certainly wonder if the timing was intentional like I wonder here.

        • Guest

          Unlikely. Most people are either unaware or don’t care that MS is hosting a CEO summit. Hartung would know that.

  • Guest

    Sorry, what does Ballmer know about repeatedly breaking through to captivate the hearts of the masses? And does he plan on sharing his plans for this “new phase of growth” with shareholders publicly, or just fellow CEOs privately? Because I don’t have a clue how Ballmer plans to keep MS growing given the current strategy. And I don’t think many others do either.