Heard in Davos 2009: Dispatches from the Conference

Welcome to Heard In Davos: WEF '07 Anticipated


I got the e-mail from my Head of News here at CNBC Europe about two months ago telling me I was on the team to go and cover the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos for the the second time. Last year was my first but this time I am a little more prepared as to what to expect.

For a start, it's unlike any other outside broadcast I've ever taken part in. From six a.m. to nightfall you can be interviewing top players, putting together pre-records, rushing off to interview ERM-busting billionaires and still have time for a cocktail or two and a chat over dinner with the heads of several multi-billion pound companies.

Let me just give you a snapshot of an average day last year.

Minus 17 degrees and its six forty five CET in the pitch black at the snow covered CNBC camera point just outside the main Congress Hall. I go live with a hit into our first programme of the morning, Today's Business. After that quick two minute thirty WEF preview there's a five minute break and then we go live on Squawk Box Europe for the next three hours. During this show I conduct interviews with half a dozen top players. With the likes of Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP, Bob Greifeld of Nasdaq, Ben Verwaayen of BT, Jim Schiro of Zurich Financial, John Thain of the NYSE joining us over the three days. Add to that the ever witty Lord Turner, guru of UK pension reform, Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, and a whole host of other dignitaries and you get an idea of the feast that is available to us at Davos. By 1000 CET I'm a dead-ringer for Frosty the Snowman and it's time to thaw out for a bit.

So, it's Ross Westgate's turn for a couple of hours, going live with Worldwide Exchange. While he is on air I start writing my report on how India and China are the main topics of conversation at the 2006 meet. But I don't get too far, I'm too distracted. Basically when you've got the likes of top boffin Stephen Roach and the most convivial Sir Richard Branson in the CNBC green room (OK it's really a portakabin with a crowd-pulling heater) grabbing a coffee and a croissant, then it would be a bit churlish not to go over and pick their brains.

After shooting my package and catching a seminar or two by mid-afternoon I'm beginning to think of taking a break. But no, the feast has turned into an eight course special and I get the call to grab a camera man and go and talk to George Soros about why he's in town. I manage to steal six minutes with the man who brought down sterling, and countless other currencies, and rush the tape back so we can use it on Simon Hobbs' Closing Bell programme.

All in all not a bad day's work but I still have time to change for dinner and grab a glass of champagne before the meal with Sir Mark Moody-Stuart of Anglo American and Niklas Zennstrom of Skype. Sitting there watching these two captains of old and new industry debate the hot topics kind of sums up Davos for me. And to think I get to chip in with the odd observation.

Next, arrival in Davos 2007...