In crowded Davos, keeping VIPs happy is no easy task

January 31, 2009

How do you keep VIPs — hundreds of them — happy?

You can’t, especially at the World Economic Forum. There’s no point in pulling that “Don’t you know who I am?” line here at the annual Davos gathering, which is attended by hundreds of the biggest corporate and political bigwigs.

Aides to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani (including Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim) and officials traveling with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev were visibly upset after they were refused entry into the opening plenary session. Before the same event, Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade and his aides were made to stand around for 15 minutes or so.

Later in the week, Belgium’s prime minister, Herman van Rompuy, was pushed aside by bodyguards to make way for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Every morning, there are long queues at the security screening on the way into the conference, and CEOs who are used to whizzing past barriers must wait patiently for their turn like the rest of us.

“The forum has outgrown this place,” one participant told Reuters.

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