Here’s What You Missed At The APEC 2015 CEO Summit

The Philippine nation has recently played host to this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Week, having previously hosted back in 1996. Last November 16-18 saw the culmination of the APEC 2015 CEO Summit, a global gathering of some of the world’s top business and economic leaders.

If you didn’t get to tune in, read on to find out what you might have missed.


1. Session One: APEC’s Inclusive Growth Imperative

Opening the 3-day event was Tony Tan Caktiong, APEC 2015 CEO Summit Chairman, who introduced President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III. President Aquino addressed this year’s APEC priorities, which include Human Capital Development, fostering Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Sustainable Growth and Resilience, and Regional Economic Integration.

(Image source: APEC 2015 CEO Summit)

(Image source: APEC 2015 CEO Summit)

Moderated by Andrew Stevens of CNN, President Aquino discussed how the Philippines is continually working on realizing these priorities, in light of his presidential term concluding in 2016.

2. Session Two: The New Global Context

Led by President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) International Global Chairman Dennis Nally, General Electric (GE) Vice President John Rice, and moderated by Norman Pearlstine of Time Inc., the panel discussed how nations can work towards securing economic stability for the future.

“The Philippines and China realize economic relations need to be strong,” said Bremmer, sharing how the two countries acknowledge the importance of their economic relationship in spite of the ongoing South China Sea dispute.

(Image source: APEC 2015 CEO Summit)

(Image source: APEC 2015 CEO Summit)

On battling uncertainties, President Bachelet said, “We have to do it in a collaborative way and work together.”

3. Insight Session: David Plouffe

David Plouffe, former campaign manager of President Barack Obama and current Chief Advisor and member on the Uber Board of Directors, discussed Uber’s vision and success, sharing how the company is “not about the taxi market. Uber growth comes from people driving themselves.”

He further spoke of technology’s role and importance in businesses today, stating, “We see people using the core of what Uber is: technology. Technology does not have to be something up in the clouds about advertising and monetizing.”

4. Session Three: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Plouffe’s discussion on technology’s innovation in connection to the economy paved the way to the next session, whose panel consisted of Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos, Representative of Chinese Taipei’s Economic Leader Vincent Siew, Underwriters Laboratories Senior Vice President Terry Brady, and Millenium Challenge Corporation CEO Dana Hyde.

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

Moderated by Trefor Moss of The Wall Street Journal, the panel conversed on fostering entrepreneurial endeavors, local or otherwise.

“All these new technologies bring new challenges,” said Brady. On governments working with its citizens to bring about growth, he added, “The key is to identify local needs and figure out how organizations can tackle those needs.”


1. Insight Session: Tony Fernandes

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

Bright and early for day 2 of the CEO Summit, Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia, grabbed the attention of his audience straight off the bat, sharing the importance of people as a resource to business.

“Our biggest strength in this part of the world is the people,” he said.

2. Session Four: Asia Pacific Growth

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, accompanied by Moody’s Corporation CEO Raymond McDaniel, Walmart Asia CEO Scott Price, and AIA Group Chief Executive Mark Tucker made up the panel discussion on the region’s economic growth.

With Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin moderating the session, the panel brought forth e-commerce and trade facilitation as vital aspects to economic growth, additionally discussing how much improvement the Asia Pacific region has seen in recent years.

3. Insight Session: Wendy Kopp

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

“The extraordinary educational success is the product of extraordinary leadership,” said Wendy Kopp, CEO and Co-Founder of Teach For All, a non-profit organization that focuses on delivering educational opportunity around the world.

Kopp’s session shared insights on her company: its efforts, what it stands for, and its overall advocacy. Her discussion was bridged to the next session, which focused on health and education for the future.

4. Session Five: Human Capital

Stressing the importance of human capital and how it must be nurtured to help flourish the economy, the panel — composed of Philippine Department of Health’s Kenneth Hartigan-Go, JP Morgan Asia Pacific CEO Nicolas Aguzin, Sanofi Pasteur CEO Olivier Charmeil, and PHINMA Corporation President and CEO Ramon del Rosario — spoke of approaches towards brandishing human capital.

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

According to Aguzin, global workforce is necessary towards the success of a global company. This promptly reinforces the session’s priority of promoting the importance of human capital in global economies today. Additionally, the board was moderated by ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC)’s Cathy Yang.

5. Session Six: Inclusive Growth and Building Resilience

Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang was joined by Blackberry Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen, Merck Biopharma China President and CEO E. Allan Gabor, Prudential Corporation Asia’s Donald Kanak, and Asia Society’s Josette Sheeran, to discuss how nations and businesses can fight resilience whilst moving forward with growth being focused with today’s innovations.

With Time International’s Zoher Abdoolcarim as moderator, the session followed its speakers as they established strategies on how growth, equity, and resilience can be achieved.

6. Insight Session: Bunker Roy

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

As afternoon rolled in, so did Sanjt “Bunker” Roy and his insights, particularly on his own personal project, Barefoot College. As he shared his inspirational journey in helping rural parts of the world, Roy also tapped into the power of technology and how prominent it has become in the world today.

7. Session Seven: Cities

On the discussion of cities, infrastructure investments were a key point from the panel.

“We need to look at creative ways of financing infrastructures,” said Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO. “What if we embrace new technologies that force us to change how we live?”

Other panelists of this session included Rt. Hon. Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Deutsche Post DHL Group CEO Frank Appel, and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation. Timothy Ong, Chairman of Asia Inc. Forum, played moderator for the afternoon.

8. Session Eight: Trade

What is the next horizon for Asia Pacific trade? This was the question that was explored for the last session of the day.

John Key on panel for Session Eight. (Image source: Twitter)

John Key on panel for Session Eight. (Image source: Twitter)

“You’ll always get resistance to free trade agreements,” said New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who was joined by Hong Kong, China’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, FedEx Express COO David Cunningham, and Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao. Andrew Stevens of CNN International had the responsibility of moderating the forum.

The speakers delved into trade deals and the importance of negotiations between countries in the context of securing such trade agreements. Nakao added that trade facilities are one of the key areas of support for countries.

“To promote growth and development, trade should be in tandem with other efforts,” he stated. “What we need is a sense of cooperation in this region.”


1. Insight Session: Jack Ma

(Image source: Facebook)

(Image source: Facebook)

The final day of the CEO Summit started off with a bang as Jack Ma, Executive Chairman for Alibaba Group, gave some key insights on businesses, ranging from how to help small businesses today, to stressing on the importance of technology and to invest on the youth as the future’s next leaders.

“We have to build up a world that is more transparent and inclusive,” he said. “Trust in the young people. Believe in them. Help them.”

2. Session Nine: Growth

Timothy Ong once again stepped into moderator shoes for a one-on-one session with Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

VP Kalla was in agreement regarding peaceful relations among nations as vital to economic growth.

“Cooperation among nations is key for the global economy to make a turnaround,” he remarked. “There should be a peaceful cooperation and healthy competition.”

On the rise of China, he commented, “Only the country with rising economic power can be critical power,” going on to explain how military assets are obtained through funds, and as China’s economy is flourishing, military power becomes more accessible to their nation.

3. Session Ten: Summit Dialogue with President Barack Obama

Following his opening spiel, US President Barack Obama opted to moderate his own session in an odd twist, going on to interview the speakers who joined him for the session: Alibaba Group’s Jack Ma and SALt’s Aisa Mijeno.

President Obama interviews Jack Ma and Aisa Mijeno.

President Obama interviews Jack Ma and Aisa Mijeno.

President Obama, whose speech highlighted climate change, praised Mijeno for SALt’s advocacy: making light sources accessible to everyone without compromising the environment.

Meanwhile, when asked how climate change affects businesses, Ma responded, “The money we use tries to wake up people’s consciousness about climate change,” claiming businesses should work on enlightening the public of the climate changes taking place around the world.

“Prosperity for the future is dependent on the planet that accommodates us,” President Obama concluded.

4. Session Eleven: Summit Keynote with President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping delivered his own speech in his native tongue, going on to talk about peace and asking fellow member-economies of APEC to look beyond the seas that separated them to call the Pacific Ocean “our common home.”

President Xi Jinping. (Image source: Twitter)

President Xi Jinping. (Image source: Twitter)

“I am confident that the vast Pacific Ocean will become a bridge of cooperation, a bond of friendship, and a place we call our common home,” he said.

5. Session Twelve: Summit Dialogue with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev represented his country in place of President Vladimir Putin who had been previously slated to attend the CEO Summit but pulled back at the last minute.

Prime Minister Medvedev’s session was moderated by Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev. PM Medvedev expressed regional integration as a crucial point for the economy, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. He went on to highlight the importance of cooperation and collaboration among the nations to strengthen economic ties.

6. Closing Addresses and Turnover

ABAC 2016 Chairman Juan Raffo.

ABAC 2016 Chairman Juan Raffo. (Image source: Twitter)

APEC 2015 CEO Summit Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong took to the stage once more to deliver his closing remarks following PM Medvedev’s solo forum. Chairman Caktiong then turned to incoming APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) 2016 Chairman Juan Raffo as the Summit was officially turned over to Peru, the next country to host.

As a symbolism of the turnover, delegates and guests were served 2 iconic drinks from the nations of the Philippines and Peru: San Miguel Pale Pilsen (Philippines) and Pisco Sour (Peru). With that, the the insightful and fruitful 3-day APEC 2015 CEO Summit reached its conclusion.

Read Also: China President Xi Jinping Confirms Attendance in Philippines

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Regina is a Fine Arts graduate who expresses herself through various mediums. She finds amusement in pop culture, enjoys video games, and watches way too many YouTube videos on a daily basis.