Founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, will be stepping down from leading the organization. 

Schwab announced his decision in an email to his staff on Tuesday, according to Semafor. 

The emails alleged that Schwab will step down from his executive role and transition to a non-executive chairman position by January 2025. This move, pending Swiss government approval, comes after Schwab’s more than five-decade reign over the organization.

The 86-year-old Schwab shared his decision in an email to staff on Tuesday, which was subsequently leaked to Semafor. 

Schwab became notorious during the pandemic after his book COVID-19: The Great Reset caught the attention of the public.

“You’ll own nothing and be happy” is a quote often attributed to Schwab. However, it originated from a World Economic Forum video in 2016, which summarized an essay by Danish politician Ida Auken.

Observers continue to speculate who will succeed Schwab. 

Despite the lack of a named successor, potential candidates include Schwab’s children and Børge Brende, a former Norwegian conservative leader and current president of the WEF who has been leading the executive board over the past year. 

The WEF remains an organization with ties and influence over governments worldwide. Schwab previously boasted about how much sway his organization has over world governments.

In 2017, Schwab confirmed that he had “penetrated the cabinet” of Canada’s government, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“But what we are very proud of now is the young generation like Prime Minister Trudeau, half of his cabinet, are actually Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum… We penetrate the cabinets,” said Schwab.

Many prominent politicians are connected to the WEF. Canada’s Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland serves on the World Economic Forum’s board of trustees.

Freeland also attended the 2024 summit in Davos and advocated for decarbonization, claiming it would lead to more jobs and manufacturing growth in Canada. 

The annual Davos meetings have also been marked by the extravagant lifestyles of attendees. VIPs enjoy luxurious accommodations, including 24/7 butler service and gold coat hangers, while residents struggled with skyrocketing housing prices and evictions.

The WEF has substantial financial resources. The organization reported nearly $500 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 2023 and had 200 million Swiss francs in cash reserves, according to Semafor.

The WEF’s annual summit in Davos has focused recently on fear-mongering around climate change and misinformation.

For example, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a speech in 2023 attributing greenhouse gas emissions to a “death sentence.” Despite this, 1,040 private jets flew in and out of the Swiss town’s luxury ski resort for the conference.

In 2024, misinformation and disinformation surpassed climate change as the WEF’s top concern. 

“In response to mis- and disinformation, governments could be increasingly empowered to control information based on what they determine to be ‘true.’ Freedoms relating to the internet, press and access to wider sources of information that are already in decline risk descending into broader repression of information flows across a wider set of countries,” reads the WEF Global Risks Report 2024, the 19th iteration of the organization’s annual threat rankings.

Despite its mission to tackle global challenges, the WEF has faced backlash for its elitist image and the perceived disconnect between its lofty goals and the luxurious lifestyles of its participants. While the WEF champions decarbonization and climate action, its members’ reliance on private jets and lavish accommodations tells a different story.

True North reached out to the World Economic Forum for comment but received no reply.