Participant Profile: Peter Sutherland

The businessman and barrister, Peter Sutherland, is the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, and a longtime Bilderberg attendee.

He sits on the board of directors of Koç Holding, the largest industrial conglomerate in Turkey, whose Chairman is Mustafa Koç, a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.

Sutherland’s career spans the public and corporate worlds: he is, for example, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary- General (SRSG) for International Migration, and is on the Supervisory Board of Allianz SE, the German multinational financial services company. Until 2009, Sutherland was Chairman of BP and the vice chairman of the European Round Table of Industrialists.

Sutherland is one of the “high priests of globalisation” to quote former Observer editor and one-time conference attendee, Will Hutton.1 The co-founders of Spinwatch have described Sutherland as “truly one of the global elite” and “one of the most influential global political figures in the last 30 years.”2 They added that: “No public figure has ever elected Peter Sutherland, yet he has had a far greater political impact in the past two decades than almost all of the democratically elected leaders in the world.”3

Throughout his career Sutherland has served numerous high-powered and influential positions in the corporate and political world: he has been a Foundation Board Member of the World Economic Forum, on the Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations, Chairman of the Trilateral Commission in Europe, and a member of the Bilderberg Steering Committee.

A 2010 Irish Times profile described Sutherland as “Ireland’s ‘Davos Man’ – a master networker with high-profile corporate and public positions and a bulging contacts book to boot.”4 A Financial Times piece from 2009 described him as a man “at the centre of the establishment in all its forms” and someone with “a tough reputation as a business fixer and enforcer.”5

Another Financial Times piece described Sutherland as “a crusader for trade liberalism” who is “on first-name terms with ministers and leaders of state around the world.” It also added that he “has considerable clout in the sphere where governments, global corporations and international organisations meet and overlap” and that “former colleagues say he was invaluable in opening doors in European governments and in Brussels.”6

After serving as Ireland’s Attorney General from 1981-84, Sutherland became a European Commissioner responsible for Competition Policy under President Jacques Delors. Described as a man who “brought charm, pugnacity and a faith in market forces to the post” he quickly set about breaking down trade barriers.7 Despite facing opposition, Sutherland “liberalised the airline and telecommunications industries, curbed state subsidies and put in place a framework for EU merger policy that exists today.”8

According to Charles Grant: “Sutherland asked Delors for the competition job because of its economic importance, and because a close reading of the Treaty of Rome had shown him that, in theory, the commission had more power in this field than any other. Before Sutherland, the commission had seldom used the considerable powers which lay in the treaty.”9

Sutherland was tipped to succeed Delors but a change in government in Ireland prevented him from being nominated. Instead he became Chairman of Allied Irish Bank in 1989 and went on to join the board of BP and Goldman Sachs. After a few years Sutherland went back through the revolving door to become Director-General of GATT in 1993, playing a key role in concluding the Uruguay round.

At the time it was the largest trade deal in history and helped further open markets for corporate interests. It also created the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with Sutherland serving as the founding Director-General until April 1995. Since his departure he has continued to advise the WTO and his credited with helped to transform the office into one that dealt not only with ministers but directly with heads of state.10

The Financial Times describes his time at GATT/WTO:

“During less than two years in charge he charmed, cajoled and bullied governments into signing an agreement that brought down trade barriers and provided the legislative basis for globalisation… [Sutherland] made direct contact with ministers and heads of government and backed up his private pleadings with public warnings that failure to ratify a deal would plunge the world into a spiral of protectionism… During the final negotiations, his stature was such that he was able to force through dozens of clauses with a bang of his gavel. ‘Part of the strategy was to frighten everyone into doing a deal,’ says one person involved in the negotiations.”11

After leaving the WTO he joined the board at BP, going on to become Chairman in 1997. In 1995 he also became Chairman of Goldman Sachs International after first joining as an advisor in 1990. His two and a half decades with the “Vampire Squid”12 earned a reputation as “one of the City of London’s most prominent figures.”13 He is due to step down at the end of June 2015 but “will continue to provide strategic advice to the firm on global business development opportunities as an international adviser.”14

On his time at BP, said to the Financial Times in 2009:

“BP is a global company. I have been involved in the EU and later in the WTO, as director, in the integration of countries through economic means, which goes back to the whole issue of nationalism and how to handle it. And BP is a practising element of the globalising process, which is what this is all about. Of course there are people who would attack multinationals. And there are good multinationals and bad ones. But overall I’ve never come across in my experience at BP what I would consider to be anything other than a totally moral approach to decision-making.”15

Another influential role played by Sutherland was as a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) from 1997, becoming its Vice-President from 2006 to 2009. ERT was central in the push towards European integration and an internal market from the 1980s after decades of stalling. On this role he said that “one can argue that the whole completion of the internal market project was initiated not by governments but by the Round Table, and by members of it, Wisse Dekker [CEO of Philips] in particular.” He added that the ERT “played a fairly consistent role subsequently in dialoguing with the Commission on practical steps to implement market liberalization.”16 Former Bilderberg Chairman Etienne Davignon played a key role alongside Dekker in the creation of the ERT.17

Other positions served by Sutherland include the Advisory Board of Eli Lilly, Board of Directors at Royal Bank of Scotland, ABB, Investor AB, Ericsson, Allianz, Koc Holding. and BW Group, Honorary Chairman of the Trilateral Commission, Chairman of the London School of Economics Council, President of the Federal Trust, Honorary President of European Policy Centre (Bilderberger John Kerr is Vice-President), board member of the Centre for European Reform, Director of the U.S. based the European Institute (alongside Jacques Delors and former Bilderberg Chairman Etienne Davignon), Advisory Council of Business for New Europe, Chairman of the Board of Governors at the European Institute of Public Administration, Honorary President of the European Movement Ireland, and a Co-Chairman of the High Level Group (reported on the Doha Round in 2011).

1 Oliver, M. (2004) “The Bilderberg group,” The Guardian, 04 June:

2 Miller, D. and Dinan, W. (2008) A Century of Spin. p. 89-92

3 Miller, D. and Dinan, W. (2008) A Century of Spin. p. 89-92

4 Carswell, S. (2010) “The ultimate social networker,” The Irish Times, 30 January:

5 Eyres, H. (2009) “Lunch with the FT: Peter Sutherland,” Financial Times, 03 January:

6 Larsen, P. T. (2006) “Peter Sutherland: The charming enforcer,” Financial Times, 28 July:

7 Grant, C. (1994) Delors: Inside the House That Jacques Built. p. 66

8 Larsen, P. T. (2006) “Peter Sutherland: The charming enforcer,” Financial Times, 28 July:

9 Grant, C. (1994) Delors: Inside the House That Jacques Built. p. 160

10 Van Grasstek, C. (2013) The History and Future of the World Trade Organization: p. 85

11 Larsen, P. T. (2006) “Peter Sutherland: The charming enforcer,” Financial Times, 28 July:

12 Taibbi, M. (2010) “The Great American Bubble Machine,” Rolling Stone, 05 April:

13 Noonan, L. (2015) “Peter Sutherland bows out as Goldman Sachs International chairman,” Financial Times, 20 May:

14 Noonan, L. (2015) “Peter Sutherland bows out as Goldman Sachs International chairman,” Financial Times, 20 May:

15 Eyres, H. (2009) “Lunch with the FT: Peter Sutherland,” Financial Times, 03 January:

16 Marshall, A. G. (2014) “State of Europe: How the European Round Table of Industrialists came to wage class war on Europe,” Transnational Institute:

17 The Brussels Business (2012):

2015 Bilderberg meeting confirmed: June 11-14

Austrian police have confirmed the date of the 2015 Bilderberg meeting. The security for the annual conference will take place from June 9th-14th. The meeting itself will take place from the Thursday to the Sunday of that week, June 11th-14th, at the exclusive Interalpen Hotel, in the mountains near Telfs.


The police have stated that they will be undertaking just the one single security exercise for the Bilderberg conference and for the G7 summit taking place nearby at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, Germany, from the 7th-8th June.

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Bilderberg 2015 location confirmed: Austria

The location for the 2015 annual conference of the Bilderberg Group has been confirmed. The yearly transatlantic summit, which is attended by senior politicians, bank bosses and the heads of some of the world’s largest companies, will be held at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol, a luxury hotel and conference centre in Austria.


The Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol is a “five-star hotel conference centre” tucked away in the mountain forests a few kilometres west of the Seefeld ski resort, and conveniently close to Innsbruck airport. The hotel is part of the privately-owned Liebherr Group, a giant Switzerland-based manufacturing conglomeration, owned by the billionaire German Liebherr family.

According to the hotel’s Meetings & Events brochure, “the hotel lies at an altitude of 1,300 metres in an exclusive setting in the Tirolean Alps and offers panoramic views of magnificent mountain peaks.” The isolated, Eagle’s Nest style venue has a 400-capacity conference centre with “a magnificent Alpine backdrop” and state-of-the-art conference facilities.


The location of the 2015 conference has now been confirmed by Austrian police. It will be the third time the Bilderberg summit has been held in Austria, and 27 years since the previous occasion. The 1988 conference was also held at the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol; the 1979 conference was held in Baden, just south of Vienna.

It’s thought that the 2015 conference will be held in early June, although the exact date has yet to be confirmed. The hotel is fully booked on the first two weekends of June (4th-7th and 11th-14th).

Participants at the 2014 conference in Copenhagen included: Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP; Paul Achleitner, the Chairman of Deutsche Bank; Stephen Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Governor; Robert Dudley, the Group Chief Executive of BP; Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google; Douglas Flint, the Group Chairman of HSBC; Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF; and Peter Sutherland, the Chairman Goldman Sachs International.


Bilderberg 2014: British Participants

There are thirteen British names on the officially released list of attendees for the 2014 Bilderberg Conference in Denmark.
The three day trade and policy summit begins on Thursday May 29th, and is taking place at the Marriott Hotel, Copenhagen.

The British participants include two serving cabinet ministers, the Group Chairman of HSBC, the head of MI6 and Lord Mandelson.

They are:


George Osborne MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer

Justine Greening MP
Secretary of State for International Development

Ed Balls MP
Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

John Sawers
Chief, Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)


Douglas Flint
Group Chairman, HSBC
Chairman, International Institute of Finance
International Advisory Board, BritishAmerican Business

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles
Senior Advisor to Group Chairman, HSBC

Bob Dudley
Group Chief Executive, BP
Director, Rosneft

Note: Bob Dudley is listed under ‘GBR’ on the participant list, although he is American.

Sir John Kerr
Deputy Chairman, Scottish Power

Helen Alexander
Director, Rolls-Royce
Chairman UBM plc
Deputy Chair, esure group.
Senior Adviser to Bain Capital
International Advisory Board, BritishAmerican Business

Marcus Agius
Chairman, PA Consulting

Peter Mandelson
Chairman, Lazard International
Chairman, Global Counsel
Director, Sistema


John Micklethwait
Editor-in-Chief, The Economist

Martin Wolf
Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Bilderberg 2014: agenda released

The agenda for the 2014 Bilderberg conference in Copenhagen has been released. The key topics for discussion this year include:

Is the economic recovery sustainable?
Who will pay for the demographics?
Does privacy exist?
How special is the relationship in intelligence sharing?
Big shifts in technology and jobs
The future of democracy and the middle class trap
China’s political and economic outlook
The new architecture of the Middle East
What next for Europe?
Current events

The top discussion point – “Is the economic recovery sustainable?” – is certain to be focusing on the huge transatlantic free-trade agreement currently being negotiated between the EU and the US: TTIP. More details on TTIP and Bilderberg here.



Every year, the influential Bilderberg Group holds an exclusive three day conference: an international trade and policy summit attended by senior politicians and policymakers, billionaire investors, European royalty, bank bosses, corporate CEOs, and media moguls from all over the world.

The participant list is a roll call of the biggest executives on the planet, the heads of companies such as Shell, HSBC, Google and Deutsche Bank. These executives will spend three days, in private, discussing economics, trade policy and geopolitics, with finance ministers, European Commissioners, foreign ministers, and even prime ministers.


The Bilderberg Group is an influential trade and finance lobbying organisation, which every year holds a three day conference.

The 2013 conference was held in a luxury hotel outside London. Two years ago it was held near Washington DC.

The first official Bilderberg conference was held in Holland in 1954, making 2014 is Bilderberg’s 60th year. This year is the first time since 1969 that the conference will take place in Denmark.

The Bilderberg Group is governed by a Steering Committee, chaired by Henri de Castries, the Chairman and CEO of AXA (the huge French insurance and investment group). Also on the Steering Committee are the billionaire venture capitalist, Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and director of Facebook; Thomas Enders, the CEO of Airbus (the European defence & aeronautics multinational); and Peter Sutherland, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs International.


Heads of corporations, such as: Shell, BP, Rio Tinto, Novartis, Dow Chemicals, Unilever, and Nestlé.

Heads of banks and financial institutions such as: HSBC, Citigroup, Lazard, Goldman Sachs, Santander, Barclays, American Express, JP Morgan, TD Bank and Deustche Bank.

Heads of new media and tech companies, including – typically: Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Google); Peter Thiel; Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn); and Craig Mundie, (senior advisor to the CEO of Microsoft).

From media: proprietors, editors and senior representatives from The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Die Zeit, Le Monde, and The Washington Post. The Economist provides the ‘rapporteurs’ who transcribe the meeting. The Editor-in-Chief of the Economist also generally attends.

Leaders from the world of government and public policy, such as: the World Bank; the European Council; the ECB; the Bank for International Settlements; the IMF; the Federal Reserve; and the US Treasury.

European, American and Canadian politicians, Prime Ministers and Finance Ministers such as: the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, and UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, who both attended in 2013. Also expected to attend from the UK are: Bilderberg Association trustee and Cabinet Minister, Kenneth Clarke MP; regular participant Lord Mandelson; and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who has attended the conference six times (the last time in 2013).

Royalty are also on the guest list including: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands; King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands; King Juan Carlos I of Spain; Queen Sofia of Spain; the Infanta Christina of Spain; and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.

== 2014, THE YEAR OF TTIP ==

The transatlantic trade agreement TTIP features will feature highly on the conference agenda this year. Finance ministers from many EU countries will be in attendance (last year there were five), as will key lobbyists for TTIP and several members of lobby group British American Business, who are spear-heading this top-level trade agreement.



There is a police-sanctioned press space in the car park directly facing the Marriott hotel gates, and are providing nearby power facilities and up-to-date information and delegate photos. The press space will be open every day from 9am to 6pm from Thursday 29th May to Sunday 1st June.


Local police expect several hundred transparency campaigners to be present outside the Marriott hotel for the duration of the conference.


The Marriott Copenhagen, Kalvebod Brygge 5, 1560 København, Denmark

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The 2014 Bilderberg Conference will take place at the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen, from May 29th – June 1st. It is the first time since 1969 that the Conference will be held in Denmark.

Ulrik Federspiel, Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S
Ulrik Federspiel – Bilderberg Group Steering Committee;  Executive Vice President, Haldor Topsøe A/S

It is common for the host country to have participants than usual. In anticipation of the release of this year’s participant list, here is a list of Danish participants from the last four Bilderberg Group conferences (years 2010-13), showing the years they attended, and their main business or political positions:

Jeppe Christiansen (2012)

Novo Group, Director

Haldor Topsøe, Director

Novo Nordisk, Vice Chairman

Symphogen, Director

Kirkbi, Director

Maj Invest, CEO


Bjarne Corydon (2013)

Minister of Finance


Anders Eldrup (2010, 11)

Copenhagen Cleantech Cluster, Chairman

Rookwool Foundation, Deputy Chairman

former Bilderberg Group steering committee

former DONG Energy CEO (resigned, disgraced)


Ulrik Federspiel (2010, 11, 12, 13)

Bilderberg Group steering committee

Haldor Topsøe A/S, Executive Vice President

International DME Association, Director

former Danish Ambassador to the US


Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (2010)

former Prime Minister of Denmark

former member of the European Parliament

Social Europe Journal, Editorial Board

OMFIF, Advisory Board


Peter Schütze (2011)

DSB, Chairman

Copenhagen Business School, Chairman

SimCorp, Vice Chairman

former CEO of Nordea Denmark


Jakob Haldor Topsøe (2013)

Haldor Topsøe, Director

AMBROX Capital A/S, Partner


“This luxury hotel in Copenhagen boasts 887 square meters of sunlight-drenched conference space.”


The Marriott Hotel in central Copenhagen is a 15 minute drive from the airport. It sits right on the river, to the south west of the city centre. Guests are invited to “revel in 402 spacious air-conditioned accommodations and luxury suites with the finest water views in the surrounding area.”

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Address: Kalvebod Brygge 5, 1560 København, Denmark
Phone:+45 88 33 99 00


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a guide to the annual transatlantic talks