A CHARTER flight into Siem Reap on a recent Monday afternoon carried a multi-billion-dollar payload – a group of high-profile international business leaders that represented some of the world’s largest corporations and controlled vast amounts of wealth.
The group comprised 89 participants from the Young Presidents’ Organisation Intercontinental Chapter, plus five crew and two medical attendants.
The Young Presidents’ Organisation, founded in the US in 1950, is a world network of young chief executives who, in aggregate, run companies that employ more than 15 million people and generate $5.4 trillion in annual revenues. Members flying into Siem Reap themselves controlled several billion dollars worth of revenue.
The tour, organised by the Hong Kong office of Abercrombie & Kent, one of the world’s leading luxury travel companies, kicked off on November 7 with a brief overnight stay in Phnom Penh, where participants were greeted with a welcome dinner at the National Museum with special guests such as Roland Eng, former Cambodian Ambassador to the US.
Participants then flew by charter to Siem Reap on the Monday afternoon, and flew out again by charter on Thursday afternoon, bound for Ho Chi Minh City.
During a whirlwind stay in Siem Reap the group visited several temples and had a farewell dinner at the Bayon Temple which was spectacularly lit for them.
They also engaged in art tours, photographic exhibitions, a “jungle journey”, a visit to historian Darryl Collins’ authentically restored Khmer house, purification ceremonies, yoga classes and other activities.
On the Tuesday evening, the group attended a dinner at FCC Angkor where an auction of two photographs raised about $20,000 for the Angkor Children’s Hospital.
Surprisingly, this group of super-wealthy business people travelled with no security and hoped somehow to keep their high-profile presence in Siem Reap secret.
European, Asian, US and Latin American business tycoons were part of the group, which also included US commercial aristocracy such as Peter Coors and his wife Marilyn. Coors is the chairman of Molson Coors Brewing Company and chairman of MillerCoors. He is the great grandson of the founder of the brewing empire, Adolph Coors, who set up the Golden Brewery in the US 1873.
Multinational media interests were also well represented, including the presence of high-profile American David Zucker. He is a former president and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, and former exec vice president of ESPN.
Other notables on the tour included Rumi Verjee, founder of Domino’s Pizza in the UK and former owner of Watford Football Club along with Sir Elton John.