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Questions for the boss of Google (among others)

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It’s common to think that online conferences are tedious. Personally, I think they are way better than the real thing, since it is so much easier to take notes and, perhaps, to ask rude questions that you might find daunting in front of a live audience.

One coming up from Reuters Next is potentially a cracker, since the guest list includes: · Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet· Tim Davie, Director General, BBC· Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission· Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank president · Kristin Peck, CEO Zoetis· Jitse Groen, CEO, JustEat· Sandeep Mathrani, CEO, WeWork.

Some stellar names there, but I think the main draws are UvdL and Lagarde.

My euro correspondent says he would ask them: How does the EU move forward with deepening ties between members now the UK is not hanging around trying to prevent that kind of thing…and how can the ECB and Commission drive post-Covid growth?

That’s a bit intellectual for me.

I would ask Tim Davie what he thinks of having to report to somebody who has funded a governing party that seems intent on legging over his organisation.

I might ask Sundar Pichai about the role he thinks the tech giants played in the shenanigans last night.

And if he believes in the economic theory of competition. And how he sleeps at night.

And I’d ask Jitse Groen for a chicken sandwich.

The virtual summit – which takes place 11-14 January – has the theme of Rethink, Rebuild, Recover; A New Vision For A Better Tomorrow.

Topics will include global trade, climate change and sustainability, the fallout from the US election and the impact of Brexit.

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