FT Alpine Forum 2020

Financial Times Alpine Forum 2020

Friday 31st January 2020
20:00 Grand Hotel Royal & Golf Lounge Bar

The Grand Hotel Royal & Golf played host to the Financial Times Alpine Forum, with discussion and insights from key figures in UK journalism & business. The Forum was preceded by a marvellously Italian “aperi-dinner” and was presented by Schoen Clinic.

Panel moderator Ravi Mattu, the FT’s Deputy Asia News Editor, led the discussion on navigating turbulent times ahead, on the day Brexit became a reality.

From Brexit to Hong Kong and Donald Trump to the Royal Family, 2019 was a year of tumult. Disruption is the new norm in politics and business and 2020 will prove to be another momentous year.

The US presidential election, the challenges of doing business in an increasingly uncertain world and the challenge – and possibility – of finding opportunity within that, all offer fertile ground for the world’s executives.

This year’s Financial Times Alpine Forum featured a range of guests from the world of business and the media, offering their views on the events that shaped the past 12 months and how they see the next year unfolding.

Created at the time of the move to Crans-Montana and the expansion of the event, the Financial Times Alpine Forum provides a tangible and growing business platform. Alongside the mental exercise of the competition comes the stimulation of the in-depth discussions regarding current affairs, trends, challenges and the future of our lives.

The Forum is composed of a discussion panel of leading journalists, executives and social commentators. The mix is intentionally eclectic, engendering deep, lively and above all entertaining discussions, cutting across a range of topics with a debate on current affairs, state of the markets and concluded with a Q&A session.

2020 FT Alpine Forum Panellists

Ravi Mattu

Moderator, FT.

Ravi Mattu is the deputy Asia news editor of the Financial Times and oversees the paper’s coverage of the region.

Since joining the FT in 2000, Ravi has held a number of senior positions including: Tech Editor; Editorial Director for FT2, the commercial content division of the Financial Times; Business Life editor, overseeing the management section of the paper; Acting Editor and Deputy Editor of the FT Weekend Magazine; editor of Special Reports (magazines and websites), during which time he edited a number of titles, including Mastering Management, and launched FT Wealth.

Frank Gardner

BBC Security Correspondent

As the BBC’s Security Correspondent, Gardner is a leading authority on some of the issues at the top of the global news agenda, from terrorism and so-called Islamic State to espionage and the Middle East.

Inspired to travel to remote places from an early age after a chance meeting with the veteran explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, Gardner developed a fascination for the Arab world and was determined to read Arabic at university. After living with an Egyptian family in the backstreets of Cairo, he graduated from Exeter University and started a nine-year career in banking as an investment banker with Saudi International Bank and then Robert Fleming Bank from 1986 until 1995 before taking the plunge into journalism, working initially for BBC World.

In 2004, Gardner was shot six times at close range while on assignment in Saudi Arabia, leaving him severely wounded and dependant on a wheelchair.

He has since written three best-selling books: ‘Blood and Sand’, a memoir of life in the Middle East; ‘Far Horizons’ describing unusual journeys to unusual places; and ‘Crisis’, his widely-acclaimed debut novel.

Gardner has been awarded numerous titles and doctorates. In 2005, he was awarded an OBE for Services to Journalism, McWhirter Award for Bravery and voted Person of the Year by UK Press Gazette. In 2010, he was winner of BBC Celebrity Mastermind, and in 2011 he was elected President of The Ski Club of GB.

Alex Koch de Gooreynd

Partner, International Residential at title partners Knight Frank

With almost 25 years’ experience working within the residential real estate markets, Alex joined Knight Frank in 2005 and is the Partner responsible for our Swiss, Portuguese & Austrian networks.

Alex has been involved in selling everything from apartments in Portugal & Vienna starting at €500,000, to breaking pricing records with some of the lakefront homes around Lake Geneva and being the go-to agent for clients seeking an off-market but proactive approach in the CHF50m+ price range across Switzerland.

Alex also represents Knight Frank as Brand Ambassador for Switzerland, spending much of his time working closely with a number of Ultra High-Net-Worth individuals as well as their private banking teams, family trusts, lawyers & tax advisors. In addition to providing these clients with a single-entry point to the firm, and as a regular keynote speaker, Alex is often approached to present Knight Frank’s unique global insights to these advisory teams so that they can correctly advise their clients.

Frederic Hufkens

Executive Chairman and CEO of A. S. Adventure Group, who operate Snow+Rock

Frederic Hufkens was appointed as Executive Chairman of the A.S. Adventure Group in 2007 having been a shareholder since 1997. Since 2008 he has combined the roles of executive chairman and CEO for the group. Under his stewardship the group grew from a turnover of below €200m to above €600m. Frederic has been active in the retail and brands sector for most of his working life.

In 1997 Frederic became one of the main advisors to the Halley Family who through the merger of their company Promodès with Carrefour became the largest shareholders of Carrefour.

Frederic was involved in several retailers from the purchase of G.I.B in 1997, at that time the largest supermarket chain in Belgium to the German fashion brand Jill Sander.

Frederic holds a Master of Business and Economics from the Solvay University Brussels and a Post Graduate degree in Statistics and Financial Analysis from the Inter-University Centre of Belgium.

The A.S. Adventure group has a turnover of over €600 million and is active in 7 countries through 240 stores. The A.S. Adventure group operates under the following brands: A.S. Adventure, JUTTU, Bever, Cotswold Outdoor, Snow & Rock, Runners Need and Mc Trek.

Reena Virdee

Director of Business Development at Schoen Clinic

Reena is the Director of Business Development at Schoen Clinic. Reena joined in 2019 and leads on the strategy and growth of the group.

She is responsible for developing and executing the strategic plan for Schoen Clinic, driving growth and expansion across service lines and geographies, both organically and through M&A.

Prior to joining Schoen Clinic, Reena spent 7 years in the Transaction Services M&A team at PwC where she specialised in healthcare. Here she worked on the market’s largest transactions across healthcare services and social care, advising private equity, sovereign wealth funds, corporates and private individuals investing in the sector.