Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene has pulled out Saudi Arabia’s Investment Initiative. She joins a number of tech leaders who have pulled out of the conference after the disappearance of US journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Greene did not speak about the reasons behind her withdrawal. However, it lines up with a number of other industry leaders, including Richard Branston, AOL co-founder Steve Case, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
“I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi. We are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won’t be attending the FII conference in Riyadh,” said Khosrowshahi in an email from Uber’s press office.
CEOs in the finance, automotive, and investment industries have also withdrawn. This includes JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Bill Ford, and Blackrock’s CEOs.
Khashoggi is a Washington Post reporter who has been historically outspoken about Saudi Arabia. He disappeared when visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early October, and hasn’t been seen since.
Turkish intelligence claims to have evidence that Khashoggi was the victim of an assassination. Saudi Arabia has denied the accusations, and the US and Turkey are investigating the matter.
Previous sources from CNN suggested Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that it was an interrogation gone wrong. Tech leaders have ample reason for concern and are looking to both protect their brand and take a moral stand.
President Donald Trump told Fox News the US is “probably getting closer than you might think” to finding the truth but said Saudia Arabia’s denial was “very strong” and that it may have been rogue killers.