The Counterintuitive CEO

Davos 2008 Part One: Recession?

January 30, 2008

Seven years before the mast…I mean, hey, this is my seventh year attending the World Economic Forum! Lovely place — snowy and cold. It’s fun to watch all of these important people slipping and sliding on the ice in their expensive, leather-soled shoes…

Biggest topic: “Are we going to have a recession?” Everyone’s worried. But when I probed on the health of their businesses, CEOs said that things looked pretty good. The world’s best economists and finance ministers don’t think a recession is imminent. If we do have one it will be mild. Unlike the Japanese debt crisis in the early 1990s which took six years to clean up due to slow-moving banks and government, Merrill, Citibank et. al. are moving fast to re-capitalize. The only other potential shoe to drop on the credit markets is a private equity or hedge fund collapse.


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