Zelensky, Yellen Among Speakers Set to Discuss Ukraine War at WSJ CEO Council

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U.S. Treasury Secretary

Janet Yellen

and Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelensky

are set to address The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council this week, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended geopolitics and amplified economic challenges that have emerged because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the war in Ukraine front and center of global events, Mr. Zelensky is scheduled to address the event by video link. The meeting will open in London on Tuesday evening, when the head of the British armed forces, Adm. Tony Radakin, is also set to speak.

The invitation-only event will also bring together business leaders, including

Microsoft Corp.

founder

Bill Gates,

James Gorman

of

Morgan Stanley,

James Quincey

of

Coca-Cola Co.

,

Brian Chesky

of

Airbnb Inc.

and

Michael Moritz

of Sequoia Capital, a California venture-capital firm focusing on the technology sector.

Mr. Zelensky has become the face of Ukrainian resistance, helping to bolster morale at home and galvanize public opinion in the West, where he has persuaded governments to deliver increasing volumes of weapons to defend his country. His decision to remain in Kyiv as Russian forces rolled into Ukraine is seen by Western military analysts as critical to the country staying in the fight.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has propelled President Volodymyr Zelensky onto the world stage. WSJ looks at how the former television star’s use of social media brought his wartime messages to a global audience. Photo: Davit Kachkachishvili/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has driven energy and other critical prices higher, further fanning inflation world-wide. The pandemic has also shifted working patterns and continues to disrupt supply chains, forcing businesses to get to grips with how many of these shifts are permanent.

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Higher interest rates, meanwhile, have contributed to a rerating of the valuations of technology companies, which are also facing increased scrutiny in different jurisdictions over privacy, their policies toward disinformation and other issues.

Ms. Yellen is helping lead the U.S.’s response to the Russian invasion, crafting a broad sanctions regime with allies to weaken the Russian economy.

A central question facing the U.S. and its European allies is how to reduce Russia’s revenues from sales of oil and gas. As the European Union moves toward an embargo on Russian oil, Ms. Yellen has warned about the economic consequences of broad bans on Russian energy, arguing that such steps could drastically raise the cost of energy across the world.

The war in Ukraine has also splintered the broader international economic community, and Ms. Yellen has urged China and countries that have remained nonaligned in the conflict against deepening their ties with Russia. She has cast the war as a referendum on the international financial system the U.S. engineered in the aftermath of World War II.

Domestically, Ms. Yellen and the Biden administration face the highest inflation in decades. Rising prices have weighed on Democrats’ popularity and slowed the passage of their economic agenda in Congress.

Ms. Yellen is also leading the Biden administration’s efforts to understand and further regulate the cryptocurrency industry. The Treasury Department is pushing for Congress to pass legislation regulating stablecoins, a type of digital asset whose value is often pegged to the dollar, while also crafting a series of reports on other segments of the roughly $2 trillion cryptocurrency market.

Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at London Business School, will address the future of work. The event also includes a discussion with the British designer Thomas Heatherwick. For her expert perspective on China,

Keyu Jin,

professor at the London School of Economics, will also address the meeting.

Write to Stephen Fidler at [email protected] and Andrew Duehren at [email protected]

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