Martin Sorrell says ‘just do it’ to windfall tax, speaking at a subdued Davos

The World Economic Forum’s annual gathering at Davos is a lot more low-key this year. No Biden, Johnson, Macron or any big world leaders, and a-listers like Angelina Jolie, who have made appearances in the past, are staying away too.

Even Greta Thunberg has not turned up this year, and climate concerns are very much taking a back seat as business leaders are packing out sessions on Russia and the Cold War 2.0, while Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky is a bigger draw than any CEO.

Martin Sorrell, is there though, and providing commentary to various news outlets. He told Bloomberg that “they should do it” about the proposed UK windfall tax on energy suppliers, saying that the cost of living crisis is so severe that it makes sense, despite the fact that the tax would deter investment.

Not usually one to look back, Sorrell added: “Post-Brexit we had the opportunity to go to what people called Singapore-on-steroids or Singapore-on-Thames and we didn’t really seize it.”

In an interview with CNBC, he talked about the end of globalisation as companies seek to have more control over their supply chains, and the increased importance of countries like India, Vietnam, the Middle East and South America, which are feeling less impact from the Russia-Ukraine war and the deterioration of the relationship between the US and China.

He’s also predicting that US tech companies Amazon, Meta and Alphabet will all benefit from the Russia-Ukraine war. Partly because it drives social media use, but mostly because it’s being carried out as much online as it is on land, with cyber offense and defence meaning that big tech’s cyber security systems are coming into their own.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.

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