January 28th, 2010
11:56 AM GMT
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – The runners are off… Davos has begun. The agenda is clear: how to do things differently in the future, especially when it comes to the banks.
The discussion has been galvanized by U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposals to split the big Wall Street firms and ban proprietary trading. Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC, told me reform of the banks is needed but cautions against doing it in haste. And he doesn’t like Obama’s proposals for banning prop trading by banks, which he says is unworkable.
There are big thoughts being raised here today. Ben Verwaayen the CEO of telecom company Alcatel-Lucent is promoting cohesive capitalism. He explained that companies need to set policies around a much bigger agenda than earnings per share. "I'm talking about issues... whether that's health, whether that's climate change, whether it has to do with the cohesion of society because of diversity. And companies need to contribute." This is true Davosian thinking.
Verwaayen knows stating the principle is part of the process at Davos. Tom Glocer, the CEO of Thomson Reuters - a seasoned Davos hand – knows, "Ideas are generated independently. They begin to be socialized. They are essentially repeating what they’ve heard in the corridors here. The idea picks up traction."
In the cold winter of Switzerland there is, as always, hot debate of these issues and these conversations will eventually lead to change.
Tune in to CNN International each evening at 1900 GMT (or your local time) to watch Richard Quest on ‘Quest Means Business’.
For more information on Davos please visit www.cnn.com/davos