Mayor announces top speakers for Games-time programme to woo investors

17 July 2012

World-leading experts are heading up an innovative Games-time business programme designed by Mayor Boris Johnson to showcase why the capital is the number one place in which to invest and grow a business.

A top line up of speakers - including Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia - will front a series of high profile debates called the 'London House Global Futures', to be hosted at City Hall converted to become 'London House', a business networking hub.

'London House Global Futures' will explore the key economic issues facing cities over the coming century including technology, environment/climate change, the rise of the BRIC economies and the role of cities in the world's economy. Other top name speakers are Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management and inventor of the phrase BRICs; Matt Ridley, a leading scientist and expert on the topic of climate change and sustainability; Professor Saskia Sassen at Columbia University, one of the world’s foremost thinkers on the topic of cities and globalisation who coined the term 'global cities'. In addition, participating in the debate led by Professor Sassen, the Mayor is delighted to welcome Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, representing the 2016 host city of the Games.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said

'I want this influential audience to be stimulated by a feast of all that's best about the capital, so when it comes to deciding their new HQ or expansion, it is London they opt for. This charm offensive will benefit Londoners for decades to come in the form of jobs and economic growth.'

These thought-provoking, informative events form part of the Mayor’s ambitious business engagement programme for Games-time. This aim is to seize the huge opportunities presented by the 2012 Games to deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for generations to come. The programme will target the world’s key international investors and business people, through London House and its associated activities. This includes hosting hundreds of international business leaders who have been invited by the Mayor to experience London’s business offer, including meeting UK leaders within the technology, creative, environmental and financial services sectors.

Participants in London House will include a raft of top name companies keen to learn more about growth and investment opportunities, including Disney, Paramount Pictures, Telefonica, Gamesa, Silicon Valley Bank , Wipro, LG (CNS), Tata Consultancy, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Time Warner, Banco Itau, Tsingtao Brewery and Iberdrola Engineering and Construction.

The London House Global Futures debates are:

Preparing for the Asian Century - Capitals and Markets (30 July):

Which markets are driving the global economy and what will London need to do to ensure its future competiveness in the coming decades?

Keynote speaker: Jim O’Neill, chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

The Environment Imperative (August 2):

How can London develop approaches to climate mitigation either as an economic response or in shaping the climate for investment in technological responses? What role will London - as a home of innovation and investment - play in challenging the issues of sustainability?

Keynote speaker: Matt Ridley, a leading scientist and challenging thought-leader on the topic of climate change and sustainability

Technology: Disruption and Convergence (August 4)

- London has demonstrated resilience over many economic cycles, but what role will it play in the global economy as we shift to meet new challenges, and how can it incubate innovation?

Keynote speaker: Jimmy Wales, as the founder of and

Cities: Crucibles of Change (August 10):

Cities have long been identified as the command centres of the global economy but as the pace of global urbanisation increases how is that role changing and how do cities impact on future trends? Is London’s role in the global economy assured, or are new financial centres likely to overtake London in the coming economic cycle? How can London and Rio convert all their strengths and continuing prowess as hubs of world leading technological know-how, trade and investment, and lead the way for 21st century global cities?

Keynote speaker: Professor Saskia Sassen at Columbia University

Notes to editors

The London House Global Futures debate series has a limited number of spaces available for media. Please contact: [email protected] for more information and to request registration (please state your preferred debate/s).

Biographies for keynote speakers:

Jim O'Neill is Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. He was previously head of Global Economics, Commodities and Strategy Research at Goldman Sachs. He is best known as the creator of the acronym BRICs, which has become synonymous with the emergence of Brazil, Russia, India and China as the growth opportunities of the future. He coined the phrase in a 2001 paper entitled "The World Needs Better Economic BRICs"; no other economic idea has defined the 21st Century more powerfully or more accurately. Jim continues to provide insights and is considered a leading thinker on the world economy, especially the rising role of emerging market economies. He most recently redefined eight ‘emerging’ economies that offer the potential for transformational growth in the coming decades as ‘Growth Markets’; currently these are the BRICs and Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Jim is a member of the boards of the UK Royal Economic Society, Bruegel and Itinera. He is a member of the UK-India Round Table and the UKIBC. Jim is chairman and one of the founding trustees of the London-based charity SHINE, and was awarded a Doctorate from the University of London for his philanthropic efforts in education. ​

Matt Ridley is a renowned science writer, journalist, biologist, and businessman. His talk on "when ideas have sex" has been viewed 1.6 million times. His most recent book, The Rational Optimist - which was shortlisted for the 2011 BBC Samuel Johnson prize - champions the potential of innovation to address the world’s biggest challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity.​

Jimmy Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as the founder of Wikimedia Foundation, the charity which operates, and as the co-founder of In 2007, The World Economic Forum recognized Wales as one of the "Young Global Leaders." This prestigious award acknowledges the top 250 young leaders for their professional accomplishments, their commitment to society and their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. In addition, Wales received the "Time 100 Award" in 2006, as he was named one of the world's most influential people in the "Scientists & Thinkers" category.​

Professor Saskia Sassen is a world renowned academic on the field of Cities and Globalisation, having given definition and shape to the term ‘global cities’ in her work of 1991. She showed how the global economy far from being placeless, has and needs very specific territorial insertions, and that this need is sharpest in the case of highly globalized sectors such as finance and business services in which London is such a prominent player. Professor Sassen is a leading expert in urban and economic matters, she is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair of The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University.





Notes to editors:


For media enquiries please the Mayor of London’s 2012 Games Press Office on 020 7983 4070 or email [email protected]. Numbers not for publication.

For out of hours media enquiries please call 020 7983 4000.

For non-media enquiries please call the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

is one of the world’s foremost thinkers on the topic of cities and globalisation having coined the term ‘global cities’. She continues to explore key trends in urbanisation and globalisation., Jimmy Wales is a leading innovator in the field of technology and the digital revolution - his innovations have shaped the way we are building the information age., Matt has provoked discussion and debate on one of the most significant challenges the world faces today.– Jim is a world expert on the global economy and was an original architect of the term BRICs. He will spearhead a debate exploring the geographical shift taking place in the world economy; China, India and emerging players such as Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam that are driving Asia’s economy into a position of world economic and political dominance. : 'During Games-time, London will be jam packed not only with top athletes but men and women who take the crucial decisions about where their businesses should invest and grow.