Shahzada Dawood was not the vice-chairman of the World Economic Forum
Claim went viral on multiple social media platforms including TikTok
Claim: Pakistani business magnate Shahzada Dawood was the vice chairman of the World Economic Forum.
Fact: Shahzada Dawood served as vice chairperson of the Engro Corporation before his untimely death; he was also a trustee on the Boards of Engro Foundation and The Dawood Foundation, as well as one of the top officials of the SETI Group.
“Here’s an interesting fact that no media has mentioned. Shahzada Dawood who perished on that submarine with his son just happened to be Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum. Probably just coincidence I’m sure, but ….”
The claim that Shahzada Dawood is the vice chairperson of the World Economic Forum (WEF), an international NGO based in Switzerland, has been making rounds following his death alongside four other people on a vessel in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Titan story
On 18 June 2023, Titan — a submersible manufactured by OceanGate Expeditions — was reported missing (archive) while on an underwater tourist journey to the wreckage of the Titanic.
Alongside British-Pakistani business magnate Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, there were three more passengers (archive): OceanGate CEO and founder Stockton Rush, French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and British billionaire Hamish Harding.
A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic. Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information. 1/2
— USCGNortheast (@USCGNortheast) June 22, 2023
It was confirmed on 22 June that all five Titan passengers had died instantly “in a ‘catastrophic implosion’”, as per The Guardian’s report (archive), which cited US Coast Guard. The update came after officials confirmed (archive) that a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) found five pieces from the sub in a “debris field” inside the search area near the Titanic wreck.
Fact or Fiction?
Soch Fact Check verified the profile available on the WEF’s website, which is available here (archive) and mentions him as “Vice-Chairman, Engro Corporation, Dawood Hercules.”
Dawood was serving as the Engro Corporation’s Vice Chair and a “Trustee on the Boards of both Engro Foundation and The Dawood Foundation” before his death, according to the website. He was also among the top officials of the SETI Group, an acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.
The full bio on the WEF website is as follows:
“Shahzada’s Dawood joined the Board of Engro Corporation in 2003 and currently serves as the Vice-Chairman. He has over two decades of experience in corporate governance and the transformation of industries, including growth and innovation opportunities through mergers and acquisitions of diversified public-listed companies across textiles, fertilizers, foods, and energy. Shahzada is a leading voice in the institutionalization of key international networks and contacts. He aspires to a sustainable future and believes in inclusive business models involving low-income communities building value chains along business interests. In line with this, Shahzada serves as Trustee on the Boards of both Engro Foundation and The Dawood Foundation. In addition, he is a member of the Global Advisory Board for Prince Charles’ Charity, Prince’s Trust International. In December 2020, he also joined the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute. Shahzada serves as Director across Boards of various industries, including investment holdings like Dawood Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, Dawood Hercules Corporation Ltd, and Patek (Pvt) Ltd. Shahzada holds an M.Sc. in Global Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University, USA, and a LLB from Buckingham University, UK.”
The WEF website lists Engro Corporation as one of its partners and, as part of its Family Business Community, its function is to “connect the most prominent family business leaders worldwide and to promote shared understanding of the global issues affecting family businesses”.
Dawood, however, is not listed on the page about the WEF’s leadership and governance.
The Associated Press — which is accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), of which Soch Fact Check is also a signatory — quoted WEF spokesperson Yann Zopf as saying, “Dawood was not a WEF employee but did belong to its ‘Family Business Community’”.
It further said WEF profile pages are created for people who have taken part in any WEF event or penned a blog for them. Dawood has attended multiple events of the NGO, as per Full Fact, also an IFCN signatory.
Conclusion: Shahzada Dawood served as vice chairperson of the Engro Corporation before his untimely death; he was also a trustee on the Boards of Engro Foundation and The Dawood Foundation, as well as one of the top officials of the SETI Group. He was not the vice chairperson of the WEF but was part of its ‘Family Business Community’.
Background image in cover photo: WEF
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