This year’s Code conference is shaping up to be our biggest speaker roster ever in 14 years, with the top names in tech, media, commerce, politics and more.
To kick it off, we are announcing our first six speakers for the annual event, held at the end of May in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. We have a dozen or more big speakers to come, as well as some new offerings to innovate the event we have built. If there is any theme this year, it’s about the need to rethink, upend and take Code to an even higher level of quality and rigor.
More to come on that, but first, we are thrilled to bring back to the stage Elon Musk, the super-entrepreneur who runs both SpaceX and Tesla, both companies on the cutting edge of tomorrow’s digital world. Everyone is now rushing into the arenas that Musk has pioneered — changing the way we think about autos and space. It has been a news-filled year on both accounts for him; he has also been outspoken about discussing the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and involved with another new transportation effort in Hyperloop.
Also in the transportation sector, there has not been a more voluble exec of late than new Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was just all over CES talking about how the car giant needs to speed forward in the autonomous vehicle space, even as Google and Apple are motoring in too. Ford just made a series of moves, including a hookup with Amazon to push forward the Internet of Things, a drone project and more.
We have a lot of new CEOs at Code this year, although Google’s Sundar Pichai has had a long career at the search giant he now heads. The mega-company has grown to much more since the famously nice exec was a product manager for its Chrome unit. He now presides over a range of units from Android to enterprise to YouTube and now virtual reality. Despite the new configuration into Alphabet, Pichai still leads its most important letter and still one of the biggest moneymakers in the space.
Reality is what Susan Desmond-Hellmann faces every day as the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). The former chancellor of University of California, San Francisco and Genentech exec is charged with leading one of the world’s most high-profile philanthropy efforts, which deals with a range of real-world issues from higher education to public health to drug development and more. She also answers to two of the most demanding and active bosses in the space, intent on using their massive fortune to remold the planet for the better.
Chuck Robbins is the new CEO at Cisco, the networking giant that is facing big changes across the Internet space. He has worked his way up at the company for 20 years, finally taking the seat that had been helmed for a very long time by John Chambers during Cisco’s go-go days. Now it is up to Robbins to navigate the choppier waters and figure out new strategies as the market morphs quickly and fells once-massive powerhouses. Among the many topics: Cisco’s partnership with Apple and controversies over cyber security.
Finally, in this group, another new CEO, Devin Wenig, also has his hands full as the new CEO of eBay, especially as it seeks to slim down (via spinning off its PayPal and enterprise units) and find new growth in its once robust marketplace. Commerce has been a much challenged arena, and eBay’s performance has lagged as other competitors have emerged and new formats have thrived. Also: Amazon. “Can Devin Wenig Make eBay Cool Again?” read one headline when he got the job. Can he? We’ll find out.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.