Gloomy Days in Davos

The World Economic Forum kicks off tomorrow in Davos, Switzerland, but it won't be nearly as exciting as in years past: The financial crisis has led many CEOs and politicians to abandon plans to attend the conference of heavy-hitters. Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein won't be there, although he's reportedly sending "his deputy." Former Lehman CEO Dick Fuld won't be there, of course. Nor will John Thain, who, rather ironically, was scheduled to participate on a panel entitled "The Bank of the Future." And while Citigroup is still sending five executives, the bank's chief, Vikram Pandit, isn't one of them. (Citi isn't sending a "support staff" this year either, which means the execs who do make the trip may be forced to carry their own briefcases and fill up their own glasses of water.) Worst of all? There won't be too many celebs on hand to divert attention away from the depressing, gloomy discussions of economic doom.

Angelina Jolie, who was the big draw at Davos two years ago, isn't going to be there. Claudia Schiffer, who was a hit at least year's forum, isn't attending. Bono has no plans to be in Davos (he says he has an album to record), nor will Naomi Campbell be showing up.

Not everyone is staying away, though. Both Steve Schwarzman and Jamie Dimon say they plan to make the trip. Hopefully they'll bring along plenty of books and DVDs to keep themselves entertained during their off-hours. When the man responsible for bringing Campbell and Schiffer to Davos in previous years was asked about the celeb guests he'd lined up this year, he mentioned the "prominent German politician" Guido Westerwelle.

At Davos, Crisis Culls the Guest List [NYT]
U.S. bankers avoid glitz of Davos, image a concern [Guardian]