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Davos Highlights: Executives Sound Off

CEOs and other executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, shared their insight on the financial crisis, the markets and the economy with CNBC.

Branson on Silver Linings & Philanthropy

“I think there are tremendous opportunities at times when the bigger companies are stumbling – tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses. These are the times, in recessions, that fortunes are made, so I think it’s important for people to be as positive as possible and try to take on the big conglomerates that are in trouble.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group Chairman

Oil’s Place in a Green World

“Longer term…it’s quite clear that we go from six to nine billion people. All persons on earth like to have electricity to transport themselves, so energy has to come from somewhere, and we are convinced that renewables are very attractive, they will come, but there is a good place for oil and gas as well. In order to have oil and gas ten years out, we have to explore today.”

Jeroen van der Veer, Royal Dutch Shell CEO

Video Games: Recession Proof?

“So far I think we’ve been relatively unaffected as an industry, but I think when you look at how difficult the situation is economically, we probably won’t be exempt from some kind of impact over the next few years. I would say the one thing we benefit from is the cost-per-hour of video game entertainment is lower than any other form of entertainment.”

Robert Kotick, Activision Blizzard Chairman & CEO

Dimon on “Bad Bank” Plan

“I don’t like the word bad bank, but I do think having a vehicle buying a lot of these assets off the banks balance sheets - who need to sell them - is a very good idea, but it’s one tool in the toolkit, meaning it’s one thing that can help people repair themselves. Some banks don’t need it at all, but those who do, it would be a great vehicle, and the complexity is the execution at what price you actually buy these things at. Honestly, I would just starting buying them at market. It would lift the market up and it would give a real floor in the price, so you can have real price discovery.

Jamie Dimon, J.P.Morgan Chairman & CEO

Private Equity Giant on Financials, Bad Banks

“Private equity, like everything else in the financial world, has had its problems…Private equity has suffered somewhat, but I think private equity is resilient, private equity does have capital, private equity doesn’t have to mark to market every hour on the hour, so I do think private equity can stay a relatively important part of the American economic system, and a part of the global economic system. In fact, because we have capital now, we can invest in companies that do need capital, and we can help the system move forward.”

David Rubenstein, Carlyle Group Managing Director

NYX CEO on IPOs, Trading & the Market

“This is a trading market more than an investing market right now, and I think until we get confidence generally re-instilled, it’s going to feel like a choppy trading market, rather than a really liquid investing market.”

Duncan Niederauer, NYSE Euronext CEO