More than 100 commodores of corporate America will grapple with the world's burdens this week aboard a luxury boat at the Annapolis Yacht Club, in Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy and in hotel meeting rooms.
Mingling with Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress and diplomats, and advised by professors and think tankers, the corporate chief executive officers will use Annapolis as a backdrop to range through topics from "Where Will World War III Begin?" to "How to Know When You Have Cut Too Deep" and from "Technology: Who Will Prosper? Who Will Perish?" to "Can Republicans Redeem Their Campaign Promises?"
They were called to Annapolis by Forbes, the business magazine that advertises itself as a "capitalist tool," to pay $2,850 a head to attend the first Forbes CEO Forum, which opens at the Naval Academy Wednesday night and closes at an Annapolis hotel Friday night.
An advance guest list put out by Forbes is studded with corporate CEOs such as Frank V. Cahouet of Mellon Bank, Albert J. Dunlap of Scott Paper Co., Melvin R. Goodes of Warner-Lambert Co., Lawrence J. Ellison of Oracle Systems, John F. Welch of General Electric, Norman P. Blake of USF&G;, Gerald Greenwald of United Airlines, Richard Hazleton of Dow Corning Corp., Glen H. Hiner of Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., and Harry C. Stonecipher of McDonnell Douglas Corp.
Joining them as speakers at one or more of 15 forums during the three days will be White House adviser George Stephanopoulos, Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown, two chairmen of congressional committees and three other Senate and House members, and Adm. William A. Owens, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Voices from the past will include former White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, former diplomats Richard L. Armitage and Richard Perle, former Sen. Warren B. Rudman, and Michael Milken, the former junk-bond king who now heads the Milken Institute for Job and Capital Formation.
The conference, which is intended to become an annual event, is meant to be the flagship project of Forbes' new Management Conference Group, a project of Malcolm S. Forbes Jr., CEO of Forbes Inc.
Annapolis was chosen "because it is close to Washington and to airports, has a wealth of charm and historical background, is not overused as a venue and has an appropriate place to dock the Highlander," the Forbes family yacht, said Francesco C. Leboffe, a Forbes vice president.
Forbes will be the host to the CEOs and the array of political, academic and diplomatic speakers at a reception aboard the Highlander at the yacht club Thursday night.
Mr. Leboffe, who formerly arranged conferences for trade associations in Washington, said he was hired in January to head the new Management Conference Group and has put this week's conference together in the six months since being hired.