Orit Gadiesh, chairman, Bain & Company, discusses her key takeaways from the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, including the shifting dynamics around global leadership.
Read the transcript below.
ORIT GADIESH: I think one of the things that is compelling about this year's Davos is that it's the largest number of heads of state that have come to talk here. So we had, I think, 10 sessions ranging from 20 to 40 minutes of heads of state, which is a first. And that includes Canada, Germany, Italy, Argentina, G20 because of that, Brazil, France.
It is actually a first in that sense, and with a feeling on the geopolitical side that things are urgent. So on one side everybody's talking about, there's more optimism, the economy is going very well. And the economy is going very well everywhere in the world. There's a lot of optimism here. I think there should be a little more caution in terms of risks inherent in what we're going through, not only because some of the growth we're seeing is also catch-up growth, and it can't last forever.
But some of the discussion is focusing on that. There's a lot about digital and its role. There's a lot of governments, tax issues, regulation issues.
But what was quite unusual this time was that there is this people coming together to really try to provide leadership in a way that we have not seen before.
There was kind of the understanding that the United States had a very important role to play in terms of the world order. And now, what you see on the geopolitical side, it's not that clear to many people. Last year, there was a lot of concern, and what will happen and what will not happen.
There is a little more understanding of the fact that other people have to stand up and play roles that perhaps before, people took for granted the United States would play. And even Merkel will say that. And then Macron yesterday gave a fantastic really leadership speech. He talked about the fact that France is back, in a way he talked about Europe was back. And he talked about China, US and Europe in a way that hasn't been discussed here for a while. And that's been quite interesting.