Bill Gates speaks at Sun Valley's 'billionaire summer camp'

Michael Bloomberg, Anderson Cooper and Diane von Furstenberg enjoy penultimate day of Sun Valley’s ‘billionaire summer camp’ where Bill Gates gives speech demanding action on climate change… after moguls flew in on private jets

  • Bill Gates on Friday gave a speech about climate change to billionaires and millionaires gathered in Sun Valley, Idaho
  • So many of the attendees flew in on private jets, to hear the climate change talk, that the air space from as far afield as Michigan and Canada had to be temporarily closed  
  • The annual event, now in its 37th year, has drawn its usual gathering of luminaries from tech, industry, media and sport
  • Among those attending this year are the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, CIA director Bill Burns, Disney chairman Bob Iger and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
  • The group have had sessions on public health, criminal justice reform and the global economy
  • The meeting concludes on Saturday with a discussion with 90-year-old Warren Buffett 

Bill Gates on Friday told his fellow billionaires that more needed to be done to combat climate change during an address at the annual Sun Valley conference in Idaho.

With many of his fellow captains of industry, entertainment and technology having flown in by private jet, Gates told them the problem was real. 

The busy private jet traffic on Tuesday saw the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration bring in restrictions on air traffic control, temporarily banning other planes from the country’s West Coast to as far as Michigan and Canada from departing.

Gates has in the past defended his use of private jets, insisting he took steps to mitigate their damage.

While promoting his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster in February, Gates said: ‘I am offsetting my carbon emissions by buying clean aviation fuel and funding carbon capture and funding low cost housing projects to use electricity instead of natural gas and so I have been able to eliminate it and it was amazing to me how expensive that was, that cost to be green… we’ve got to drive that down.’ 

Gates, 65, attended the 37th annual gathering without his estranged wife Melinda, following their May divorce announcement.

On Thursday he was seen strolling the grounds of the Idaho resort with Evan Greenberg, president and CEO of insurance giant Chubb.

The pair were spotted near where he and other titans of tech, media and industry gathered for lunch on Thursday – among them Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nike co-founder Phil Knight, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

Gates, who announced in May that he is divorcing his wife of 27 years, Melinda French Gates, was seen at the Sun Valley conference with Evan Greenberg, the president and CEO of global insurance giant Chubb Limited

Jeff Bezos’ Gulfstream G650 could be seen arriving at Idaho’s Friedman Memorial Airport on Tuesday. Bezos was spotted on Thursday at the event with his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez

Private jets are seen lined up at the air field in Sun Valley on Wednesday, where a discussion on climate change was held on Friday

Jeff Bezos and his girlfriend Lauren Sanchez were spotted on Thursday arriving in Idaho

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, is seen on Friday in Idaho. He was walking beside Bob Scully, CEO of Chubb, who was holding a copy of Bill Gates’ book. Gates addressed the conference on Friday 

Ted Sarandos, the co-founder of Netflix (in the blue zip-up sleeveless jacket) and Robert Kraft, chief executive officer of the New England Patriots (second left) are seen at the conference on Friday

Michael Larson, Bill Gates’ money manager, was seen on Friday at the event – the day his boss spoke about climate change. Larson was wearing his customary pink shirt. So fond is he of the attire, Gates held a party to celebrate their 20 years working together – and told all the invitees to wear pink or platinum

Bezos was spotted on Thursday evening laughing happily beside girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, having relinquished the reins of Amazon three days earlier. Bezos is no longer CEO – a role now taken by Andy Jassy – and instead is chairman of the company.

World’s 10 richest men 

As of Tuesday:  

  Source: Bloomberg Billionaire Index

On July 20 Bezos will jet into space for an 11 minute ride with his company, Blue Origin. His British rival in the space race, Sir Richard Branson, has announced he is going into space on July 11 – beating Bezos by 11 days.

Branson has not been spotted at the Sun Valley conference and is believed to be in the midst of final preparations for the historic journey.

On Friday afternoon, the group participated in another session focused on leadership during troubled times, according to a schedule obtained by Variety.

Among the attendees are CIA director Bill Burns, and his predecessor David Petraeus, who ran the agency from September 2011 for a year.

Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York and presidential candidate, is also in attendance this year. 

On Saturday, James Baker III, former secretary of state, will interview Berkshire Hathaway chief Warren Buffett for the traditional closing session with the Oracle of Omaha.

Buffett, 90, on Wednesday saw his stake in Apple jump in value to $128billion, thanks to the iPhone maker’s stock price closing at a record high. The investor has more than tripled his money on Apple in the past three years – but he would have quadrupled it if he didn’t sell a chunk of the holding. 

Variety reported that sessions at the conference, which began on Tuesday and runs until Saturday were held outdoors. 

On Wednesday the conference kicked off with a presentation on e-commerce by Shopify by CEO Tobias Lutke, and a general discussion of the global economic climate. 

A session on criminal justice reform was also on the agenda, as was immigration reform.

On Thursday, Allen & Co. regulars Barry Diller and his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, held a session on creativity.

Barry Diller, 79, is seen here with his wife, designer Diane von Furstenberg, at the conference on Friday

Barry Diller is behind major blockbusters such as Saturday Night Fever and Raiders of the Lost Arc. He strolled into the tech conference in Idaho with his wife Diane von Furstenberg on Friday

Diller speaks to the media on Friday at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho

A sign is seen at the entrance to the Sun Valley Resort ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference

The annual invite-only conference is thrown by investment bank Allen & Company

Technicians setup inside the Sun Valley Pavilion ahead of the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference

Diller – a Hollywood icon who was the former CEO of both Paramount and what was 20th Century Fox, which is now part of Disney – said streaming services killed the film industry. 

‘The movie business is over,’ said Diller, 79, in an exclusive interview with NPR on the sidelines of the conference on Friday. 

‘The movie business as it was before is finished and will never come back. 

‘The definition of movie is in such transition it doesn’t mean anything anymore.’

Movie-making has become less of an art form and more of a factory-like production pushing quantity over quality to supplement other services, Diller said. 

Von Furstenberg has put on a typically stylishly display over the course of the week – although she has been regularly upstaged by Alice + Olivia co-founder Stacey Bendet, whose colorful and flamboyant ensembles made a welcome change from the polo shirts, chinos, and Mark Zuckerberg’s $35 Adidas slides. 

Stacey Bendet, the creative director of Alice + Olivia fashion label, put on a colorful display on Friday

Anderson Cooper, the CNN anchor, was at the annual gathering on Friday

Amy Vogel, of health company CytoSorbents Corporation (left) and Sharine Sawaris, wife of Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawaris (right) both made an appearance on Friday

Mala Gaonkar, co-portfolio manager of Lone Pine Capital, was seen with her heavily-anoted files

Mike Speiser, a managing partner at venture capital firm Sutter Hill Ventures, is seen on Friday

Shari Redstone, CEO of ViacomCBS and daughter of Sumner Redstone – Viacom’s founder, who died last year aged 97. She is seen on Friday with Dana Blumberg, an eye surgeon and the girlfriend of Robert Kraft, New England Patriots CEO

Jennifer Witz, CEO of Sirius FM, is seen with Josh Witz Allen on Friday

Pilar Queen (left), wife of journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, is spotted on Friday in Idaho

Meg Lawler, director of the Sun Valley conference, is seen with Ted Weschler, investment manager at Berkshire Hathaway

Erica Hauver, an expert on Keto Nutrition Therapy and chronic disease reversal, is seen with Richard Reeves, the British economist

David Weinberg, director of the Coca-Cola Company, is seen in Idaho on Friday

Media moguls in attendance included Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone, Disney chairman Bob Iger and WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav was spotted at the resort, as well as CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, CBS presenter Gayle King, actress Candice Bergen and film and television producer Brian Grazer.

Jennifer Witz, the CEO of Sirius FM, was also spotted. 

The world of sports was represented by Robert Kraft, chief executive officer of the New England Patriots. 

From the world of finance, Mala Gaonkar, co portfolio-manager of Lone Pine Capital, was seen with heavily-noted papers; Ted Weschler, investment manager at Berkshire Hathaway was spotted talking to Meg Lawler, director of the annual event; while Mike Speiser, a managing partner at venture capital firm Sutter Hill Ventures, was also in attendance.

Israeli-American venture capitalist Vivi Nero was spotted on Friday, as was Gates’ money manager, Michael Larson. David Velez, CEO of Nubank, was also in attendance.

Richard Reeves, a British economist at the Brookings Institute, was also present, as was David Weinberg, chairman of the Coca-Cola Company. 

In healthcare, Amy Vogel, of blood purification company CytoSorbents Corporation, was seen on Friday, as was Erica Hauver, an expert on Keto Nutrition Therapy and chronic disease reversal. 

From the legal world, Mike Keating of Foley Hoag was represented. 

Mike Keating, a lawyer with Foley Hoag, and his wife Marty are seen arriving for Friday’s session

Vivi Nevo, an Israeli-American venture capitalist, is seen on Friday at the Idaho event

Film director Justin Kelly was also seen at the event on Friday

David Velez, CEO of Nubank, is seen on Friday

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, flashes a victory sign as he appeared on the third day of the conference in Sun Valley, Idaho

Bob Iger, the chairman of the Walt Disney Company, waves at the media as he walks into Thursday’s session

Stacey Bendet, chief executive officer and creative director of New York-based fashion label Alice + Olivia, makes a colorful appearance at Thursday’s gathering. She wore unusual platform Nike sneakers

CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg (right) walks with COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg (center) and former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy advisor Kevin Sabet (left) after a session at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho on Thursday

Zuckerberg and Sandberg were photographed on the same day that a bombshell New York Times report claimed that their relationship has been strained due to disagreements that arose during Donald Trump’s presidency

Billionaire summer camp: The Sun Valley attendees and their estimated net worths

Tim Cook – Apple CEO: $1.4B 

Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook CEO: $127B  

Bill Gates – Microsoft co-founder: $128.9B 

Jeff Bezos – Amazon founder: $201.8B 

Robert Kraft – New England Patriots owner: $6.9B

Sheryl Sandberg – Facebook COO: $1.9B

 Reed Hastings – Netflix Co-CEO: $5.3B

Ted Sarandos – Netflix co-CEO: $250M

Gayle King – CBS News: $40M

Anderson Cooper – CNN: $200M

John Donahoe – Nike CEO: $135M

Michael Eisner – ex-Disney CEO: $1B

Shari Redstone – ViacomCBS Chairwoman: $500M

Stacey Bendet – Alice + Olivia CEO: $1M

Bob Iger – Disney board Chairman: $690M

Ken Langone – Businessman/investor: $5.6B

Lorenzo Mendoza – Empresas Polar CEO: $1.4B

Andy Jassy – Amazon CEO: $500M

Robert Kotick – Activision Blizzard CEO: $600M

Doug McMillon – Walmart CEO: $247M

Barry Diller – IAC Chairman:  $3.7B

Donald Graham – ex-Washington Post Publisher: $311M

Andrew Ross Sorkin – CNBC: $10M

Michael Neidorff – Centene Corporation CEO: $553M 

Brian Grazer – Imagine Entertainment producer: $400M

Eric Lefkofsky – Groupon co-founder: $4.2B

Henry Kravis – KKR & Co. Inc co-founder: $8.2B 

Mike Bloomberg – Businessman/philanthropist: $59B

Greg Maffei – Liberty Media CEO: $125M

Brian Kelly – Activision Blizzard Inc: $1.96B

David Zaslav – Discovery Communications CEO: $124M

Jason Kilar –  WarnerMedia CEO: $200M

Jeff Shell – NBCUniversal CEO: $23M

Brian Roberts – Comcast CEO: $2B

Hans Vestberg – Verizon CEO: $26M

Tim Armstrong – ex-AOL CEO: $450M

Bob Chapek – Disney CEO: $335M

Mike Cavanagh – Comcast CFO: $31.9M

Adriana Cisneros – Grupo Cisneros CEO: $4B

Anthony Noto – SoFi CEO: $87M

Marne Levine – Facebook: $3.1M

Bret Taylor – Salesforce COO: $278M

Ned Segal – Twitter CFO: $60M

Michael Ovitz – businessman/ex- talent agent: $500M

Mickey Mikitani – Rakuten CEO: $7B

Ynon Kreiz – CEO of Mattel: $18.4M

Candice Bergen – actress: $50M

Rob Manfred – MLB Commissioner: $30M

David Patraeus – Former CIA Director: $2M 

Max Levchin – Paypal co-founder: $1.8B

 Stan Druckenmiller – Duquesne Capital: $5.6B

Frank Slootman – CEO of Snowflake: $2B

Mike Berman – Washington lobbyist: $2.3M

Bill McDermott – ServiceNow CEO: $76M


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