Speakers at the 2016 Discovery Leadership Summit

While our final list of speakers, including our headliner and other local visionaries will only be announced closer to event, our lineup includes:

Jack Welch


Celebrated Sportsman, Entrepreneur and founder of UNICEF 7 Fund for children


Celebrated as one of the world’s most iconic athletes, David Beckham is a former English professional soccer player who has had successful stints at some of the most famous clubs across the globe. With a career spanning more than 20 years, he was the first English player to win league titles in four countries and has been awarded with 19 major trophies.

Beckham began his soccer career playing for a number of local London-based clubs before entering Manchester United’s training academy at the age of 14. He signed his first contract with Manchester United when he was 16, and debuted with the team in 1992. During his 11-year tenure there, he scored 62 goals, helping his team win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and the UEFA Champions League and the World Club Championship in 1999. He later went on to play for Real Madrid for four seasons, and in 2007, he made his Major League Soccer debut with the LA Galaxy in the United States. During his five-year contract with the renowned Los Angeles-based team, he was loaned to Milan twice, once in 2009 and again in 2010.

Beckham also played for the English national soccer team from 1996 to 2009. During this time, he became one of the world’s most coveted players, serving as team captain for six years and taking part in three World Cups.

In January 2013, Beckham signed a five-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain. While playing for the team, he donated his entire salary to charity. Once his contract was over, he announced his retirement from professional soccer.

Cited as one of the most marketable athletes of our generation, Beckham has consistently ranked among the highest earners in soccer. He has appeared in a number of video games, commercials and movies, and is the face of numerous brands throughout the world, including H&M, Breitling and Adidas. In 2015, he was named second on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid retired athletes, behind Michael Jordan.

A dedicated humanitarian, Beckham celebrated his 10-year anniversary as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador by launching 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund in 2015. The initiative is dedicated to raising vital funds to help protect children across the world from danger. In January 2016, he was awarded the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Leadership Award “for his tireless work to save and improve the lives of children around the world.”

Beckham is also a founding member of Malaria No More UK, a global initiative to help put an end to the suffering and death caused by Malaria, and is involved in multiple charities including the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust.

Jack Welch


Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric


Legendary management expert, businessman and best-selling author Jack Welch has established himself as the one of the most successful and respected business leaders of our generation. He spent over twenty years as General Electric’s Chairman and CEO, growing the Company’s market capitalization from $13 billion to over $400 billion, and earning him Fortune magazine’s Manager of the Century title.

Since retiring from the General Electric Company, Jack has focused his efforts on sharing his wealth of knowledge. He is currently serving as Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University, a unique online MBA and Certificate program dedicated to giving students globally and at every career level the tools to transform their lives and organizations.

Jack is the founder of Jack Welch, LLC, where he continues to serve as a Senior Advisor with the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and is an advisor to IAC (Interactive Corp).

In 2005, Jack partnered with his wife Suzy, penning The Wall Street Journal and international bestseller Winning. He previously wrote The New York Times bestseller and international best-selling autobiography Jack: Straight from the Gut. In April 2015, they released the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guild to Winning The Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career . Together Jack and Suzy explored the most pressing challenges related to creating winning strategies, leading and managing others, and building a thriving career.

A native of Salem, Massachusetts, Jack earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Massachusetts before pursuing his MS and PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Illinois. His career began at the General Electric Company in 1960 and he became the Company’s eighth Chairman and CEO in 1981. Jack continues to share his experiences and tips for success, speaking to business audiences and students around the world.

Adrian Gore

Adrian GORE

Founder / CEO of Discovery


Adrian Gore is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Discovery Group.

He launched Discovery in South Africa in 1992, with a simple and core purpose of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives. Discovery has since evolved into a diversified and multinational financial services group. Discovery is widely acknowledged as a global thought leader in wellness behavioural change and its integration with health, life and short-term insurance.

Discovery listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1997, and under Adrian's leadership, has expanded its international reach to the United Kingdom, United States, China, Europe and Asia Pacific. Discovery generates total income flows in excess of $7 billion and has over 10 000 employees globally serving five million customers world-wide.

Adrian graduated from Wits University in 1986. He is a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries (Edinburgh), an Associate of the Society of Actuaries (Chicago), and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. In 1998, Adrian was recognised as South Africa's Best Entrepreneur by Ernst & Young, and in 2004 was chosen as South Africa's leading CEO in the annual MoneyWeb CEO's CEO of the Year Awards. In 2008 he received the Investec Times Business Leader of the Year. In 2015 Adrian was the recipient of the McKinsey Geneva Forum of Health Award.

Adrian chairs the South African chapter of Endeavor – a global non-profit organisation that identifies and assists high-growth entrepreneurs. He sits on the World Economic Forum Industry Agenda Council on Future Health, which is committed to improving global healthcare. In addition, Adrian sits on the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Board of Overseers, the World Health Organisation Commission to end Childhood Obesity and on the Massachusetts General Hospital Global Health Advisory Board, whose mandate is to enhance care for the world's most vulnerable populations, as well as to educate and prepare the next generation of health leaders and educators. Adrian has recently been invited to sit on the Brokkings Institute's International Advisory Council.

Adrian Gore, together with the CEO of Bidvest Group, Brian Joffe, are tasked by the Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, to coordinate efforts to set up a SME Fund to stimulate entrepreneurship in SA. The SA SME Fund is being launched with an initial R1.5bn of private sector funding.

Adrianna Huffington


Founder of the Huffington Post and Thrive Global


Arianna Huffington, is the founder of Thrive Global, a corporate consumer well-being and productivity platform aimed at changing the way people work and live by providing sciencebased training, content, commerce and ongoing support to reduce stress and eliminate burnout.

Before launching Thrive Global in August 2016, Huffington was the co-founder and editorin- chief of The Huffington Post, an award-winning online media and news website. She is also a prolific author and nationally-syndicated columnist.

Originally from Greece, Huffington moved to England when she was 16, where she obtained a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cambridge. In 1971, she became president of the Cambridge Union Society, the oldest debating society in the world. She was the third woman in history to occupy the post.

She later moved to London to pursue her writing career and published her first book, The Female Woman in 1974. It became a bestseller in England and was translated into 11 languages. To date, Huffington has authored 15 books, five of which have made international bestseller lists. Her latest bestseller, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time was published in April 2016. It shows how our cultural dismissal of sleep as time wasted compromises our health and our decision-making, as well as undermining our work and personal lives.

In 2005, she co-founded The Huffington Post, a website that quickly became one of the most widely-read and frequently-cited media brands on the internet. Initially renowned for blogging, with an expression of liberal views and news reporting, the website grew and is currently recognised for successfully covering all aspects of the media. In 2011, she sold the site for more than US$300 million. A year later, the site won its first Pulitzer Prize for senior military correspondent David Wood’s coverage of the lives of severely wounded war veterans and their families.

In 2006, Huffington was added to Time Magazine“s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list in 2014. She was also recognised with Adweek’s Brand Genius Brand Visionary award in 2015, and serves on several boards, including The Center for Public Integrity, The Committee to Protect Journalists and Uber.

Pravin Gordhan


Finance Minister of South Africa


Pravin Gordhan was appointed Finance Minister of South Africa in December 2015, having held the role previously from 2009 to 2014. At the time, he was serving as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, having succeeding Lechesa Tsenoli who became Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.

Before his first stint as Finance Minister in May 2009, Gordhan served as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the South African Revenue Services (SARS) for a total of 11 years. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Chairperson of the World Customs Organisation, the only inter-governmental organisation with worldwide membership focused on customs matters including the development of global standards and the facilitation of international trade.

Before embarking on a successful career in business and commerce, Gordhan was actively involved in political life fighting for equality in South Africa. Gordhan’s strong analytical mind and modest leadership style saw him hold several Chairmanship positions and he often lead debate on critical issues relating to the building of foundations of the new South Africa. Gordhan served as a Member of Parliament for the ANC from 1994 to 1998 where he was Chairperson of the Constitutional Committee, which focused on the implementation of the new Constitution and the transformation of local government. He also played a role in drafting the White Paper on local government, which laid the foundation for developing local government authorities.

Between 1991 and 1994 he served as co-chairperson of the Transitional Executive Council (TEC), which was made up of representatives of those parties involved in the multi-party negotiations leading up to the first democratic elections in 1994. Nineteen of the original 26 negotiating parties were represented at the TEC, which had the task of preparing the country for the first free elections.

Gordhan became involved in politics in South Africa in the late 1960s. He organised and led the student movement and civic structures during the 1970s and 1980s and took part in the Natal Indian Congress’ call to boycott elections in the 1980s. In 1990 he participated in the multi-party talks at the Convention for a Democratic South Africa (CODESA).

Gordhan qualified from the University of Durban-Westville with a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. Post-university in 1974 he completed his pharmacy internship at King Edward VII Hospital in Durban. He worked there until 1981 when the Natal Provincial Administration dismissed him for his political activities whilst in police detention. Gordhan was detained three times by the apartheid government and spent four years campaigning for the ANC in its underground structures, which were set up as a means to bring about change in the country after repeated failed attempts at peaceful resistance.

He worked as a volunteer for the Natal Indian Congress (NIC), an organisation set up by Mahatma Ghandi in 1894 to fight discrimination of Indian traders in Natal. In 1986 he was forced to go underground and remained in hiding until his arrest in 1990, when he was named as a key figure in the ANC underground network - Operation Vula. In 1991 he was granted indemnity.

From 2008 to 2009 Gordhan served as Chairperson of the Forum on Tax Administration for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD is a respected international organisation with 34 member countries worldwide that regularly work together to identify problems, and discuss solutions that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

Having displayed exceptional leadership qualities in the areas of business and commerce, Gordhan was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Cape Town in June 2007 and an honorary Doctorate in Commerce from the University of South Africa in May 2007. In May 2009 he completed his DTech in Business Administration from the Free State Central University of Technology, which is the highest attainable qualification from a South African Technikon.

Niall Ferguson


Harvard Historian and Economist


Lauded as one of the most successful British historians of his generation, Niall Ferguson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. In 2015, after a 12-year tenure, he left his post as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University to teach full time at Stanford University.

Ferguson is a renowned academic and television historian, specialising in international history, economic history, and British and American imperialism. He has published 16 books. His most recent publication Civilization: The West and the Rest, explains the dominance of the West through competition, science, democracy, medicine and consumerism.

Published in 1993, Ferguson’s first book, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897- 1927, was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award. In 1997, a collection of essays he edited entitled Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, was acknowledged as a bestseller in the United Kingdom.

In 1998, he rose to critical acclaim by publishing The Pity of War: Explaining World War One, and The World’s Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild. The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History. In 2001, he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World.

Ferguson has to date penned and presented six major television series, including a six-part history of the British Empire for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. His accompanying book, Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power, was a bestseller in the United Kingdom and United States.

The sequel, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire, prompted Time magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Two years later, he published The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West. In 2008, Ferguson published The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World, followed by High Financier: The Lives and Times of Siegmund Warburg in 2010.

Ferguson has also written biographies of banker Siegmund Warburg and the first volume of A life of Henry Kissinger. His film about Kissinger won the 2011 New York Film Festival prize for Best Documentary.

Ferguson is a prolific commentator on contemporary politics and economics. He is a weekly columnist for The Sunday Times (London) and The Boston Globe and features regularly on television and radio on both sides of the Atlantic.

Duncan Clark

Duncan CLARK

Leading advisor on China’s dynamic technology and consumer sectors


Duncan Clark is the founder and chairman of BDA China, an advisory firm servicing investors in China’s technology and consumer sectors, which employs over 100 mainland Chinese professionals in Beijing.

As a UK citizen raised in the UK, USA and France, Clark has lived and worked in China for more than 20 years where he is a senior China policy advisor to institutional investors, corporations and governments from across the globe.

He is also either a co-founder or early-stage investor of numerous technology ventures, including AppAnnie, Student.com and Radish Fiction. Clark has received much media acclaim for the release of his recent book.

Called Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, Clark authored this definitive work on the Chinese e-commerce and technology giant (Alibaba), its founder Jack Ma, as well as the forces and people that have propelled its rise. As an early advisor to leading Chinese internet entrepreneurs, Clark brings a unique vantage point to his book, which has resulted in it being shortlisted for the 2016 FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award.

In addition to his investments in technology ventures, Clark serves as an independent director of Bangkok Bank (China) and is an advisory board member of the Digital Communication Fund of Pictet et Cie as well as of WildAid, an organisation dedicated to ending the trade of illegal wildlife products in our lifetime.

An avid academic, Clark is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics as well as a former Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. In 2013, after serving as Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China, Duncan was awarded an OBE for services to UK-China trade and investment.

Simon Kuper


Author and Sports Columnist


Simon Kuper is a renowned journalist writing for the Financial Times, and publishes in newspapers and magazines around the world, including Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Born in Uganda, Kuper spent most of his childhood in Holland and now lives in Paris. He studied history and German at Oxford University, attended Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar, and was educated at Technische Universität of West Berlin.

Kuper joined the Financial Times in 1994 where he wrote the daily currencies column. He left the publication in 1998 and returned four years later as a sports columnist. He currently writes a general column for the Weekend FT on topics ranging from politics to books, and on cities including London, Paris, Johannesburg and Miami.

In 1994, his first book, Football Against the Enemy, was awarded the William Hill prize for Sports Book of the Year. This set him on a path of writing about the world using an anthropological perspective.

He is currently one of the world's leading writers on soccer, and is the author of several other books including: Ajax; The Dutch; The War: Football in Europe During the Second World War; The Football Men: Up Close with the Giants of the Modern Game; Soccer Men: Profiles of the Rogues; Geniuses; and Neurotics Who Dominate the World's Most Popular Sport; Perfect Pitch: Home Ground; and Magnum Soccer.

He also co-authored the 2009 New York Times bestseller, Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the US, Japan, Australia, Turkey – and Even Iraq – Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport with economist, Stefan Szymanski. Using insights and analogies from economics, statistics, psychology and business to cast a new and entertaining light on how the game works, Soccernomics reveals the often surprisingly counter-intuitive truths about soccer.

In 2008, Kuper won the Manuel Vazquez Montalban prize for sports writing, an award sponsored by FC Barcelona. In 2011, he was named Britain’s Cultural Commentator of the Year in Editorial Intelligence’s Comment Awards.