Head of Global Programming, Member of the Managing Board World Economic Forum
W. Lee Howell is Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.
William (Lee) Howell has been a Member of the Managing Board at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland since 2011.
As Head of Global Programming, Lee is responsible for the design and development of the Forum’s flagship Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland; Annual Meeting of New Champions in China (“Summer Davos”); and Summit on the Global Agenda in the United Arab Emirates. He was also Editor-in-chief of the Global Risks Report (2012 & 2013 editions). He also served as Senior Director for Asia (2004-2009) and was responsible for business and government engagement in ASEAN, China, India, Japan, Korea and Pakistan. Lee returned to the Forum in 2004 after serving as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Lee began his career in international affairs over twenty years ago as a Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC from 1993 to 1996 where he worked closely with its co-founder Dr. David Abshire. He then served as Deputy Director of the Japan Society in New York from 1996 to 1999. He later worked for Dr. Sadako Ogata, the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to launch an initiative focusing on economic activities to promote the repatriation and reintegration of refugees to communities scarred by ethnic violence (Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina).
Lee is a member of the Board of Directors of the EAT Foundation in Oslo, Norway; Board of Governors of the Pacific Forum/CSIS in Honolulu, Hawaii; and the Editorial Board of Global Asia in Seoul, South Korea. He is also affiliated with the International Center for Corporate Governance at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland where he completed his PhD. His doctoral dissertation was on the topic of uncontrollable risks and the role of the board of directors. He is also alumnus of the University of Maryland, Delaware Law School, and the Washington College of Law. Lee also completed graduate courses at the University of London, Georgetown University, Dickinson School of Law and Johns Hopkins University.
Although an American citizen, Lee spent his childhood in Japan and is a member of the US-Japan Council. He is married to a Swiss national and they have two young boys.