Chase and Ford Drop Out of a Saudi Investment Conference After Journalist Goes Missing

By Yelena Mandenberg Yelena Mandenberg has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on October 17, 2018

Chase and Ford said they plan to drop out of a Saudi investment conference, along with many other businesses. On the eve of a hyper-important investment summit scheduled in Saudi Arabia, most American companies that were invited have announced that they are going to boycott the meeting after the “disappearance and presumed murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

The Future Investment Initiative conference is scheduled for the end of October in Riyadh. It was a chance for Saudi Arabia to highlight it’s economic situation and highlight their role in global business. Counting on outside investment, Saudi Arabia may lose out a lot of potential capital.

Currently, business owners and CEOs that have confirmed they will be abstaining from the conference include:

  • Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi
  • Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase
  • Bill Ford, Chairman of Ford Motor Co.
  • Viacom Chief Executive Bob Bakish
  • Billionaire Steve Case, one of the founders of AOL
  • Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong
  • HP executive Joanna Popper
  • Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber’s board and runs a consulting firm called Thrive Global.(Huffington is no longer affiliated with HuffPost.)

Other media companies said outright they won’t fly to Saudi Arabia for the conference include Bloomberg, CNN, the New York Times, and several other outlets.

Not all American businesses have canceled on the summit as of yet, but it looks like they might.

Khashoggi was a reporter for the Washington Post and was a known critic of Saudi politics, which is what authorities presume led to his disappearance and probable death. He was seen entering the Saudi embassy in Turkey earlier this month, and hasn’t been seen since. Turkish authorities speculate that he was killed inside the building.

This latest political killing could have an effect on global economics. American businesses like Ford and Chase prey on expansion in the Middle East, but politics have always made business tricky in the area.

NBC reports:

The disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has led to an exodus of international A-listers from what is called “Davos in the Desert,” potentially undermining the event. The Khashoggi case itself also threatens to derail Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s international effort to rebrand the kingdom.

In the past days, a slew of business leaders announced they would not attend the second Future Investment Initiative. Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, and Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the huge private equity company Blackstone, on Monday became the latest executives to withdraw, according to Reuters.

While Saudi Arabia does continue to make some effort towards progress, like finally allowing women to drive last year – the country has also seen a widespread crackdown on dissent. If the situation continues to dissolve into violence, it could threaten the entire country’s earning potential.

By Yelena Mandenberg Yelena Mandenberg has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Journalist verified by Muck Rack verified

Yelena Mandenberg is the Ideas Editor at Grit Daily with a passion for news of all sorts. Finishing Brooklyn College with a degree in Print Media Journalism as the industry died out, she began working as a freelancer.After spending some time working in the retail industry, Yelena started BK Riot Writing, a marketing company that caters to small and local businesses, creating content that helps them compete. From her South Brooklyn apartment where she lives with her cat & tortoise, Yelena is always seeking something new and interesting to cover.

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