- GM’s Mary Barra and Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman among more women CEOS to attend Sun Valley this year.
- Deal talk is expected to center around Amazon’s MGM, NFL stake sales, and Comcast and Viacom’s next moves.
- Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and incoming Amazon boss Andy Jassy are also expected to attend the mogul camp.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
An exclusive club of elite movers and shakers will convene at Allen & Co.’s Sun Valley, Idaho, conference next week, but this year’s is a departure from the usual white male lineup.
Of the 300 guests, at least 30 are high-flying women, according to an attendee list obtained by Insider.
On the list are CEOs Mary Barra of General Motors; Adena Friedman of Nasdaq; Ana Botin of Spain’s Banco Santander and Felicia Curcuru of Binti. So is Microsoft’s gaming head Sarah Bond, one of a few women of color to attend. Sarah Friar, the chief of social media platform Nextdoor, is attending, the company confirmed.
Women attendees in media and tech include Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and its new top ad boss, Marni Levine, the company confirmed. 23andMe’s CEO Anne Wojcicki is listed, as is former eBay chief Meg Whitman, Eventbrite’s Julia Hartz, and Adriana Cisneros, chief of Grupo Cisneros.
Women journalists to attend or helm panels include Diane Sawyer, Gayle King, Becky Quick, Erin Burnett and Willow Bay.
It’s a big change from previous years when the only women present were mostly attendees’ spouses. One veteran female attendee, Stacey Bendet, who is CEO of fashion brand Alice & Olivia and launched Creatively, an online freelancer platform, said organizers had to invite more women and people of color. “We need to celebrate how much companies have made an effort to change what they look like today,” she said.
Bendet is attending with husband Eric Eisner and his father, former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. They won’t bring their kids due to a new no-child rule, which one regular told Insider led some to cancel.
ViacomCBS’ Bob Bakish is not attending but controlling shareholder Shari Redstone will be there, the company confirmed. Charter Communications’ chief Tom Rutledge isn’t on the guest list but Jeff Bewkes, who sold Time Warner to AT&T, is.
Outgoing Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be there to introduce his successor Andy Jassy. Amazon didn’t immediately comment. Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are also set to attend.
Some executives are taking a pass this year. Eighty-year-old cable investor John Malone is bowing out, according to a person familiar with the list, as is Providence Equity executive chairman Jonathan Nelson. Rupert Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan Murdoch are not on the list this year, though Wendi Murdoch is. News Corp. didn’t immediately comment.
Sony, which also used to bring a large contingent from Tokyo and the US, isn’t on the list, either. AT&T’s chief, John Stankey, isn’t going this year, the company said.
ABC acquired ESPN as a result of a conversation at Sun Valley, and guests are already speculating on what deals might be discussed at the famous duck pond, where high-fliers are fed barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs while they cook up seismic acquisitions.
Some of the topics expected to come up:
Amazon’s acquisition of MGM. The FTC and Elizabeth Warren are going to create lots of heat and scrutiny around the prospective deal. Lionsgate might be the next studio on the block, according to multiple Hollywood sources.
Comcast’s next move. After swallowing satellite company Sky and plans to exit its stake in Disney’s
, Comcast’s chief executive Brian Roberts might be on the hunt for more assets. The cable giant was cut out of the mix when WarnerMedia went to Discovery.
Is Roku a buyer or a seller? With a market cap of $57 billion, it’s a big bite for anyone, and some are wondering if its box sales will plateau as connected TV sales grow.
The NFL’s media assets. Speculation is that Discovery could eye the NFL Network or Red Zone to add to its own growing sports media portfolio. Amazon also could be a buyer now that it owns Thursday Night Football rights, according to a person heading to Sun Valley. The WSJ reported Commissioner Roger Goodell hired Goldman Sachs to shop stake sales.
Bill Gates’ divorce (he is on the list to attend) and how David Zaslav will overhaul the future WarnerMedia are bound to be other hot topics. Other more serious conversations are expected to touch on cryptocurrencies, the newly virtual workplace, vaccine science, and how world leaders are managing the pandemic.