Press release – Robert Downey Jr., Poppy Gustafsson and Kwasi Kwarteng lead stellar speaker line-up

CogX Festival 2021: Robert Downey Jr., Poppy Gustafsson and Kwasi Kwarteng lead stellar speaker line-up

The brightest minds on the planet – from industry, government, academia, culture and entertainment – will come together on 14th–16th June at London’s Kings Cross, and virtually, to share cutting-edge thinking and address the question: ‘How do we get the next 10 years right?


Actor and investor Robert Downey Jr., Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition and Executive Vice-President of European Commission and Dame Vivian Hunt, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company are some of the headliners at this year’s CogX Festival alongside a phenomenal list of 1,000 high-profile speakers.

Returning both physically and virtually this year, the CogX Global Leadership Summit and Festival of AI and Transformational Technology will be the world’s largest hybrid and inclusive festival of its kind – bringing cutting-edge thinkers together to address some of the most urgent and important questions of our time:

  • How do we ensure social stability as we start to exit the pandemic? What level of subsidy will be required? How much longer will we need to keep vaccinating?
  • Where will the financial markets head next? Have we hit the peak? Or is there more to come? Are SPACs here to stay?
  • What is the next big productivity growth opportunity? Is it quantum? Is it the green energy transition? Revolution in healthcare? Or is it hydrogen?
  • Where will we go next in international relations with China, Russia, Iran and North Korea?
  • How do we ensure safe and responsible deployment of powerful new technology such as Artificial Intelligence?
  • What are the biggest things we can all do this year to ensure we reach carbon neutrality?

From Sean Doyle, CEO British Airways and philanthropist Martha Lane Fox, through to leadership from the biggest UK ‘unicorn’ start-ups such as Anne Boden CEO, Starling Bank, Johnny Boufarhat, Founder & CEO, Hopin and Sujata Bhatia COO Monzo — CogX Festival will host leaders of iconic British businesses old and new.

Further confirmations for 2021 include Nobel Prize winner Andre Geim, Hannah Fry Author of Hello World: How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine, Nile Rodgers multiple Grammy Award-winning producer and musician, We Are Family Foundation; Kate Crawford Senior Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research & Co-founder, AI Now, AI Now Institute; Avinash Rugoobur President & Chief Strategy Officer, Arrival; Charlotte Hogg, CEO, Visa Europe; Werner Vogels, VP & CTO, Amazon; Lila Ibrahim COO, DeepMind; Herman Narula Co-Founder and CEO, Improbable and Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics, MIT.

With our lead partners Accenture, BT, QuantumBlack a McKinsey company and Visa this year’s festival includes 18 topic stages, including: Global Leadership, Ethics & Society, Start-up to IPO, Future of Work, Createch and Next Gen Infrastructure & Industry 4.0.

Over 100,000 attendees will participate virtually and 5,000 in-person, alongside 1,000 speakers, over 350 virtual exhibitors, 3 physical stages and 15 virtual stages, making this year’s CogX Festival more than double the 44,000 attendees in 2020.Directly following the G7 Summit in Cornwall, England, and with the eyes of the world on the UK, this year’s CogX Festival will address the urgent need to re-connect and focus on social stability and economic growth and will celebrate innovation across all industries whilst preparing for COP26 and the path to NetZero.

Charlie Muirhead, Co-Founder & CEO of CogX Festival said: ‘We are so excited to be hosting the fifth edition of CogX Festival – the biggest purpose-driven hybrid event of its kind. This is such a critical time for the world, and I personally cannot wait to hear the insight our incredible speakers have to share. No one person has all the answers and this year’s festival will be an invaluable opportunity to get up to date with leading-edge thinking, reconnect with old friends, forge meaningful new relationships, and discover the very latest in innovation.’

The Festival has five ambitious aims:

  1. Inspiring current and future generations of leaders
  2. Moving conversations forward with concrete actions
  3. Celebrating the latest innovation — especially those related to the COVID-19 recovery and the climate
  4. Continuing to champion equality, diversity and inclusivity
  5. Getting to NetZero – reframing the climate emergency as the greatest economic opportunity of the last 200 years

This year’s Festival will take over four locations at King’s Cross (helpfully connected through open spaces): The Aga Khan Centre, The Lighterman and two stages in the Everyman. There will be upgraded hygiene and safety measures throughout the festival, and attendees can use the NHS health app for easy access to all our venues.

Last year, the CogX Festival featured an exceptional list of speakers including: John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and former US Secretary of State, Tony Fadell, inventor of the iPod, Leif Johansson, Chairman of AstraZeneca, Tony Blair, former Prime Minister, Shoshana Zuboff, Author, Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland.


CogX Festival 2021 tickets:

About CogX Live Events:

CogX Festival aims to build a platform for change through bringing together the brightest minds on the planet from industry, government and academia and connecting them to challenge the status quo, spearhead innovation and shape the decisive decade ahead.

The CogX Festival has 18 topic stages including: Global Leadership, Ethics & Society, Start-up to IPO, Future of Work, CreaTech, The Planet and Smart Cities, Lab to Live, Next Gen Infrastructure & Industry 4.0, Open Web, Research, Cutting Edge, Cyber & Defence, Economy, EdTech & Education, FinTech & Future Financial Services, GenZ, Health & Wellbeing.

CogX Festival has doubled in size in each of the five years it’s run and this year is no exception. The event is on track to grow from the 44,000 attendees at last year’s fully virtual event to over 100,000 at this year’s fully hybrid, three day event.

The Global Leadership Summit stage will this year be held at The Aga Khan Centre, King’s Cross, bringing together an exciting and thought provoking line-up of in-person speakers to discuss and debate the key issues of our time with an intimate audience in a Covid-safe setting.

Two other stages of curated content will be delivered in person whilst concurrently 18 stages of topic themed content will be streamed live on the Hopin platform – a virtual experiences platform redefining how people around the world connect through immersive video experiences – ensuring an engaging and interactive experience for all those participating remotely.

An incredible speaker line-up includes:

  • Poppy Gustafsson, Chief Executive Officer, Darktrace
  • Charlotte Hogg, CEO, Visa Europe
  • Sean Doyle, CEO, British Airways
  • Johnny Boufarhat, Founder & CEO of Hopin
  • Anne Boden MBE, Chief Executive Officer, Starling Bank
  • Herman Narula, Co-Founder and CEO, Improbable
  • Daphne Koller, CEO & Founder, insitro; Co-Founder & Board Member, Engageli; Co-Founder, Coursera
  • Dr Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon
  • Dame Vivian Hunt, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Robert Downey Jr., Actor & Investor
  • Caroline Dinenage, MP, Minister of State for Digital & Culture
  • Kwasi Kwarteng, MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
  • Matthew McConaughey, Actor and Author
  • Vikram Patel, Professor, Harvard Medical School
  • Twobadour, Steward, Metapurse
  • Avinash Rugoobur, President & Chief Strategy Officer, Arrival
  • Tony Fadell, Future Shape Principal, iPod inventor, iPhone co-inventor, Nest founder
  • Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition & EVP A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, European Commission
  • Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
  • Kate Crawford, Senior Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research & Co-founder, AI Now Institute
  • Tesa Aragones, Chief Marketing Officer, Discord
  • Andre Geim, Researcher
  • Hannah Fry, Author, Hello World: How to Be Human in the Age of the Machine
  • Adrian Joseph, Managing Director, Group AI & Data Solutions, BT
  • Lila Ibrahim, COO, Deepmind
  • Max Tegmark, Professor at Institute for AI & Fundamental Interactions Center for Brains, Minds and Machines Department of Physics, MIT
  • Nile Rodgers, Multiple Grammy Award Winning Producer, founder of We are Family Foundation and The Youth To The Front Fund
  • Jaan Tallinn, Co-Founder, Faculty
  • Zara Davis, Partner, QuantumBlack
  • Laetitia Cailleteau, UK & Ireland, Emerging Technology & Global Lead for Conversational AI, Accenture
  • June Sarpong OBE, TV Presenter, Diversity Expert & Award-winning Author
  • Kaja Kallas, Estonia PM
  • Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development, Royal Shakespeare Company
  • Eric Topol, Founder and Director, Scripps Research Translational Institute & Professor of Molecular Medicine
  • Wendy Xiao Schadeck, Partner, Northzone
  • Parag Khanna, Managing Partner, Futuremap
  • Nina Schick, Author
  • Skylar Tibbits, Professor & Director, Self-Assembly Lab, MIT
  • Gillian Tett, Editor at large, Financial Times
  • Jeff Hawkins, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Numenta
  • Jon Vlassopulos, Vice President, Global Head of Music, Roblox
  • Sherry Turkle, Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology Founding Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self, MIT
  • José Neves, Founder, Chairman & CEO, FARFETCH
  • Sir Christopher Pissarides, Co-Chair, Institute for the Future of Work and Nobel Laureate in Economics, Institute for the Future of Work
  • Andrea Thompson, Editor in Chief, Marie Claire
  • Luvleen Sidhu, Chair, CEO and Founder, BM Technologies
  • Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist, Alexa AI, Amazon

For further information, please contact:

[email protected] +44 7816 820153

For press passes, go to:

Apply code pvp100press at check-out to claim your free premium virtual pass.

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