German media company Axel Springer has acquired a majority stake in Switzerland-based organisation World.Minds.
World.Minds, founded in 2008, comprises an invitation-only network of 1,000 thought leaders across science, arts, government and business and hosts events on various topics. It self-describes its programme as “the exchange of insights. No ideology. No corporate small talk”.
Ralph Buchi, chair of the Axel Springer Supervisory Board, is a trustee of World.Minds which grew from an original gathering of just 20 scientists – from Nobel Prize winners to young stars – and 20 CEOs. The scientists were encouraged to present their most breathtaking research findings and there was said to be no place for big egos. “What counts are not titles, positions or wealth, but a willingness to share insights that are important but not widely disseminated. And a willingness to cooperate and help each other,” the World.Minds website proclaims.
Axel Springer has taken its majority stake through its event management arm, World.Minds Management AG and Christoph Keese (pictured, right), managing partner and CEO of hy, the Axel Springer Consulting Group, will become co-managing director together with founder Rolf Dobelli (pictured, left). Axel Springer says it will aim to grow the brand further in and beyond Switzerland.
Axel Springer says it also aims at “professionalising and growing its community business catering quality insights to select audiences”. It will use formats like Welt Wirtschaftsgipfel and Politico Live and notes the not-for-profit World.Minds Foundation remains independent.
Peter Würtenberger, executive vice-president of Axel Springer SE, will also join the company’s Board (Verwaltungsrat). Kipper Blakeley will continue serving as chief of staff and producer.
Mathias Döpfner, CEO Axel Springer SE says: “World.Minds brings together an extremely bright, passionate, and intellectually vibrant group of people to make the best of tomorrow’s world. It resonates beautifully with our existing thought leading conferences and communities. We will further expand World Minds internationally.”
The investment reflects the growing interest of many media companies in peer-to-peer networks.
The World.Minds 2022 calendar of events includes: World.Minds Belgrade, at the end of May; World.Minds Geopolitics Berlin in September and, on 1 December, World.Minds annual Symposium in Zurich.