Espen Barth Eide, who served as both defense minister and foreign minister in Norway’s former left-center government coalition, has switched jobs with his successor, Børge Brende of the Conservative Party. Eide has accepted a job as managing director at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where Brende worked before being called home to be foreign minister in the new government.
Eide, age 49, will also be a member of the managing board of the World Economic Forum, which brings together world leaders, top business officials and other influential people to share ideas and discuss global issues.
“Eide brings his leadership, energy and great experience in international and security affairs to the World Economic Forum,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, who founded the forum and serves as its executive chairman. “He will be instrumental in driving the Forum’s work as the foremost platform for public-private cooperation.”
Eide said he was “delighted” to be joining “an organization that plays a critical role in bringing stakeholders together from all aspects of the public and private spheres.”
In addition to serving as defense minister and foreign minister in the Labour-led government that lost Norway’s parliamentary election in September, Eide also has worked as a senior researcher at the Norwegian foreign policy institute NUPI and was named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum in 2003. He’s been actively involved with the Forum for the past decade.
The new job in Geneva, where the Forum is based, means Eide won’t be taking over as head of the new social democratic think tank being formed Oslo called Agenda. Eide told newspaper Dagsavisen that he has been “central in the thinking around Agenda” but couldn’t lead it because he had accepted the job at the World Economic Forum. He said he already was at a meeting arranged by the Forum in Abu Dhabi this week.
He’ll assume his new job after Christmas, when his severance pay from the state runs out. The new think tank, meanwhile, has attracted more funding from major labour organizations and reportedly was looking for a “young star” in the Labour Party to lead it, “preferably a woman under the age of 45,” one source told Dagsavisen. Grete Faremo, one of Eide’s ministerial colleagues, has also been looking for work but she’s 58.