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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS

Interview With Greek Prime Minister Papandreou; Interview With President Grimsson of Iceland

Aired January 29, 2010 - 14:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: Tonight, Greece's prime minister tells me there is no need for a bailout.

Iceland's president tells me Britain and the Netherlands are behaving like bullies.

And as Toyota recalls more cars, tonight, we speak to the company.

It is going to be a busy hour ahead. I'm Richard Quest. I mean business.

Good evening, tonight, from Davos in Switzerland again. And Greece is fighting not only to plug a gaping hole in its budget but also to close a damaging gap in its credibility.

At Davos the Greek prime minister has been adamant his country does not need EU money. He is refusing to even consider the possibility of a rescue. And the European Union is backing him, saying it cannot and will not bail Greece out. Investors are losing faith in the Greek ability to repay enormous debt.

Bonds issued by Greece are now changing hands for even lower prices as they are seen to be less secure. If that continues the trend a loss confidence, it could all turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, eventually forcing Greece, after all, to seek help.

To discuss this I spoke to the Greek prime minister George Papandreou and particularly needed to know the question of bailouts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE: We hope not to reach that point. We, I believe, with the credibility we have with our program and this is a very specific European framework, which is the Stability & Growth plan, which will get the stamp of approval from the European Commission, and then, of course, by the Equifin, the European Union, in general. That I think is a very important credibility point which will allow us then to stabilize the markets vis-a-vis Greek bonds.

QUEST: To use an unpleasant word, are you saying you do not expect to see, and require, a bailout?

PAPANDREOU: I don't know why that is an unpleasant. We don't need a bailout and we are not looking for a bailout.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

QUEST: The great prime minister of Greece has already received technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund. The Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Khan, here in Davos, said there was no need to bail Greece out, it was a European issue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KHAN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, IMF: The problem has to be addressed by the European Union and the ECB. And I think they can do it. Of course, the IMF is happy to help, if needed. But I think it won't be needed. And I think the European Union can do it.

QUEST: Isn't the risk the market has scented, has smelled blood in the water, and is now going for Greece? You know, you and I have long memories. We can remember Mr. Soros going after the Bank of England, and the ARM (ph).

STRAUSS-KHAN: Yes, that was the old good time-at least an old time. I don't know if it was good times.

QUEST: Right.

STRAUSS-KHAN: But Greece is belonging to a monetary union, so it is very different. It has some drawbacks for the country. Namely that Greece cannot use the extra (INAUDIBLE) attitude to mitigate the problems.

On the other hand, it has also some advantages, which is the solidarity among the countries. And I think the solidarity among the countries in the Euro Zone, will solve the problems of Greece.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: The managing director of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Khan.

And another country that has been having serious debt issues, Iceland, this time no closer to solving the ugly row over billions of dollars of savings lost during the financial crisis.

Icelandic officials met British and Dutch counterparts, in Davos, and discussed the so-called IceSave bill. The bill pledges to repay money that was lost when Iceland's banking system just about collapsed. British Dutch governments have paid compensation to their nationals, who had accounts with the banks.

Iceland's parliament passed the IceSave bill, to reimburse the two nations. Iceland's President Grimsson refused to sign it into law and in doing so presaged a referendum, that will be held on March 6. Icelanders are expected to reject the bill, which could do further damage to Iceland's reputation.

A short while ago, Iceland's President Olaf Grimsson told me that the country, although would repay its debts, the country was being bullied.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLAFUR RAGNAR GRIMSSON, PRESIDENT OF ICELAND: We're more profoundly disappointed and sad that the government of this enlightened country, chosen in October of 2008, decided on two things. One was to employ the terrorist legislation that was created to defend against Al Qaeda and Taliban, against Iceland, and put my, my government and the entire system on their official web site, the British government web site, side by side, with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

And the second thing was that Gordon Brown, in October, and Alistair Darling, went on global television, including CNN, and stated that Iceland was a bankrupt country, which was utter nonsense, at its best, financial terrorism on their part, at its worst. And this meant that companies all over the world, who had had dealings with Iceland, closed their operations down so the British damaged our economy to a greater extent than otherwise would have been the case.

QUEST: So why not simply say-your banks wouldn't reimburse if it was elsewhere, our banks, everyone knew the risks, we're not paying? Good morning, on you go.

GRIMSSON: Well, there are a number of people in my country who are saying exactly that.

QUEST: Why don't you do that?

GRIMSSON: We are saying that ordinary people, taxpayers, should not be in a position to show-

QUEST: You're being bullied. Iceland is being bullied at the moment.

GRIMSSON: Of course, we are being bullied. Of course, and the British and the Dutch are using their influence within the IMF to prevent the IMF program from going forward. So, we have a situation where a small nation is in fact ready to shoulder part of this burden, but doesn't want to be put in a corner where the very survival of its economy, in the next 10 years, would be at stake.

QUEST: Is there a contradiction between your publicly saying that Iceland will stand by its obligation to repay the UK and the Netherlands, and the mechanisms by which it should be done. If you are going to repay, get on and repay.

GRIMSSON: Well, there is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will in Iceland that we should repay, but the impression is one what terms, and how much? And may I remind you that if you take the sum that the Icelandic taxpayers are asked to shoulder, and you transform it into the British economic system to get the relative size, this is equal to the British taxpayers being asked to pay 700 billion pounds, for the years and decades to come, simply because one British bank failed in two foreign countries.

QUEST: When you took the decision to-not to-well, to veto the bill, was it a difficult decision to take? Did you spend a long time thinking about it before deciding, no, you were going to let it go through?

GRIMSSON: Yes, I did. It was perhaps the most difficult decision I have ever had to take.

QUEST: Because one thinks of people-and I don't mean this disrespectfully-as presidents and heads of states, very often we are told, yes, they have the power to do some things, but it is a power in name only. You know, they rubber stamp. They do-they sign the act.

GRIMSSON: A quarter of the electorate signed the petition that they wanted this right in their hands. And may I also say, when people say yes, presidents are there just to rubber stamp, that in the previous 20 or 30 years, we have had the system in the Western world, where the markets, the financial markets, were paramount. And somehow the democratic elements of our societies were put aside.

We have forgotten that there are two pillars of the Western heritage that we are proud of. One is the evolution of the free market. But the second is the evolution of democracy. And what I did was, when I was faced with a decision, between the financial concerns on one hand, and the democracy on the other, I decided to go with democracy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Extremely strong words from Iceland's President Grimsson.

I needed to set the record straight. Was the U.K. bullying Iceland, who actually want their money back. And who better than the British Finance Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling to answer the allegation of bullying.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALISTAIR DARLING, CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUE, BRITAIN: The president agrees that the money is due to ourselves and the Netherlands. That remains the case and that clearly isn't a subject of difference between us. But we have got to be satisfied that it will be repaid in a reasonable time on a reasonable basis.

And we are happy to listen to the Icelandic government. If it has proposals to make, both the Dutch government and ourselves will look at them. And you know, frankly, I think it is for the good of everyone concerned, Iceland included, if we can get this agreement concluded as quickly as possible.

QUEST: I hesitate to use this phrase, but it is only a couple of billion, and when you think of what-and the damage it is doing the Icelandic economy, the repayment, versus the amount-you are borrowing $200 billion this year alone?

DARLING: As a matter of principle here, we had to step in order to look after savers in the London branch of Landsbankinn. Now, of course, when the administration at the bank concludes it may be that a lot of the money is recovered that way. What we are talking about here is, you know, what happens with the residual part at the end of the day.

And as the president says there is no doubt, he agrees the money is due, and we would just like to get the agreement concluded.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: The British Finance Minister Alistair Darling. The vote takes place in Iceland on March 6. And, of course, CNN will have coverage.

Another legacy of the economic downturn, unemployment has risen to new historic highs. Figures in the Euro Zone showed joblessness rose to 10 percent the first time it has been in double figures. But, of course, you have to split out the numbers. Spain has bared the worst of all the Euro Zone countries. Unemployment there nearly doubled the average rate, 19.5. If you include EU countries that aren't in the Euro Zone, so it is EU 27, opposed to EU 17. Latvia is suffering the most at just under 23 percent employment. Estonia is just over 15 percent.

The stock markets ended the week-it was a slight recovery, hardly much to get too excited about. Natural resources producers rebounded after several down days. And it all helped to put the gain just nearly 1 percent. Car stocks were the driving forces in Frankfurt. The DAX added 1.25. With the best gains of the day, well, you have got to look to Paris for that, 1.30 percent.

In New York, the market is open, after the sort of misery we've seen in recent days of market movement solid GDP data gave the Street an initial boost. The rally cautioned and cooled and as a result what had been up maybe 40, 50 points is now just up 14 points. The Dow Jones trading at 10,134, end of the week, probably a quiet session, too.

The news headlines now, on a busy day. Max Foster at the CNN news desk.

(NEWSBREAK)

QUEST: Welcome back to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS coming to you live from Davos.

The extent of Toyota's recall in Europe became clearer today. The company says up to 1.8 million vehicles may have to be fixed. It said the recall would cover eight models, including the Yaris and the Aventis, because of a possible problem with the accelerator pedal.

In the U.S. one report today said Toyota telling staff how it plans to fix the fault. Concern over the recall has reached high as the U.S. Congress, where the House of Representatives energy committee plans to investigate and hold special hearings on its next month. The story keeps changing and developing each day. To get the very latest, let's join Colin Hensley, who joins me on the line.

Mr. Hensley is the general manager of corporate affairs for Toyota Europe and he is in Brussels.

Mr. Hensley, are you recalling these cars as a precaution, or do you believe that there is actually a serious fault?

COLIN HENSLEY, GM OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS, TOYOTA EUROPE: Hello, Richard. Thank you for the question.

We are recalling the cars as a precaution. We want to ensure that there aren't problems with the vehicles that the customers have. We have identified a rare instance where there can be a sticking with the accelerator pedal, but as far as we are concerned safety is the first priority. It is very important for us to do our duty to the customer. So, we will recall these vehicles.

QUEST: And at this point, do you believe that this is contained or are other models and-maybe involved? Is it going to spread, yes or no, tonight, do you think?

HENSLEY: No. For Europe we believe it is covered by these eight models.

QUEST: And if that is the case, what do you believe that you need to do, to an extent, to like repair the damage to your public relations, to your brand? Because I mean, Toyota has had a superb reputation, which in one fell swoop is in danger of being seriously sullied.

HENSLEY: Well, you are right. It could be a very serious situation for us. But we believe by being honest and straightforward, explaining the situation to the customers, and doing everything we can to resolve the situation that people will believe that we are making every effort to ensure their safety and, of course, guarantee the quality of their vehicle. That is what they depend on day to day and we want to ensure that that is what they get, a reliable, quality vehicle.

QUEST: Are you able yet to put a price tag on what you believe this crisis will cost Toyota globally, yet. Has anybody been able to put a price tag on it, do you think?

HENSLEY: We haven't yet. I'm sure people will speculate in the future, but at the moment I honestly don't have any idea. As you say I-

QUEST: And finally-sorry you were saying?

HENSLEY: As you said, the risk really is in our reputation and we will do everything we can to ensure that the customers get the service that they deserve in this type of situation.

QUEST: Now, finally, Colin, I just want to quick clarify one thing. Let's just say there's not a model that is covered by this, or it is not directly affected, but a client comes along, and a customer comes along and says, actually I'm not happy. I want you to have a look at it. I want you to check it over. I want maybe a bit of fiddling around. Is Toyota prepared to basically go to the customers side on this?

HENSLEY: Yes, our basic principle is customer first. So we will do what we need to do to ensure that they are happy with the vehicle that they have.

QUEST: Colin Hensley joining us from Toyota Europe. Many thanks, indeed. Friday evening and we appreciate it, for that.

As Mr. Hensley was making clear, the issue when it comes to a large well-respected company like Toyota is how you handle a public relations crisis. Mr. Hensley already intimated that being honest and open was part of the policy. For some expert analysis on this Maurice Levy is the chief executive of the global advertising and PR firm, Publicis. He said that in cases like this, like Colin Hensley said, honesty is always the best policy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAURICE LEVY, CEO, PUBLICIS: We should be very cautious. Toyota is a superb company. They have done an exceptionally good work during, a good job during many, many years climbing to the number one spot.

And Toyota must first address the issue, which they are doing. And the recall on such a problem is something which is clearly damaging the brand. And they will need to demonstrate that they have addressed the issue and they will have to communicate very cleverly to the consumers, to the drivers, everything they have done. What was the issue. How they have addressed it, in order that people feel secure and comfortable that, yes, the issue is behind.

QUEST: If you do that sort of action, I would imagine, and I'm not an expert in that my any means, but the key, more than anything else is transparency and honesty. The worst of all could be to be hiding something further.

LEVY: I fully agree with that. And it is, by the way, something which is key in today's world. Thanks to you, and thanks to the media, and the fact that they are investing more, deeper, than in the past, the corporation has to be much more transparent. They have to say the whole story and they have to give evidences that they have addressed the issues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST: Maurice Levy of Publicis, who certainly knows a thing or two about PR and brand loyalty.

The recall crisis, not surprisingly has hit Toyota shares hard. They fell almost 2 percent in Tokyo and that continues the downward trend, 17 percent have been wiped off the share price in the past six sessions. And you can see that, graphically, on your screens.

In a moment, in this crucial year for business, what kind of leader would you want chairing the G20? One man's no nonsense attitude to economics has earned him the nickname, the Bulldozer. Well, the South Korean President Lee is the man in the G20 hot seat for 2010 and we meet him next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: South Korea's president has called for a coordinated response to the financial crisis. Speaking here in Davos, President Lee Myung-Bak says the G20 must redouble its efforts. It's the first time the president of South Korea has spoken at the forum.

It won't be the last time we hear from him, though. He's chairing the G20 summit in Seoul in November, as president of-or in the chair of the G20 process. I spoke to Mr. Lee and I began by asking him about his G20 priorities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEE MYUNG-BAK, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Yes, the most important priority for me as chair of the G20 will be, of course, to lay the foundation so that we can ensure sustainable, continued and balanced growth of the global economy.

QUEST: That contain-that sustained and balanced growth within the 20, at the moment, is very unbalanced.

LEE: Yes, as you know, sir, in Pittsburgh, the leaders agreed on this phrase, "balanced growth". And what this means is to-we must work toward rebalancing the global economy. I know this is not going to be easy, but this is something that we must resolve.

And that is why, during the G20 summit to be held this year, all the leaders will have to really work together and coordinate their responses so that we can ensure sustained and balanced growth.

And, also, another important aspect is to rebalance the gap, or to close the gap, between the advanced and those emerging economies that are not part of the G20.

QUEST: Is there a danger that the different demands of countries mean that there can't be that spirit of-there can be a spirit of cooperation, but it is not a successful spirit.

LEE: The G20 has been recognized in the Pittsburgh summit as the premier forum to discuss international economic matters and, also, other global issues as well. I understand that each individual country will have their respective needs and policy priorities. But in order for each individual nation to achieve their policy objectives, international cooperation is going to be vital.

QUEST: Let's talk about South Korea's necessity for sustained, balanced growth. And in that regard, the economy-your economy requires there to be strong growth in other developed and emerging markets. What can you do to foster that growth further?

LEE: That's right. For the Republic of Korea's economy to continue to prosper, it is very vital for the global economy to perform well. Fortunately, the global economy's outlook and forecast for this year is about 3.5 percent positive growth. So I think that's good news for all of the countries around the world.

As for Korea, we must diversify our export markets. And we will tap into these new markets, such as in South America, in Africa and other places. And barring any new calamities or shocks this year in 2010, I believe that the Korean economy will do quite well, because another point is that we are continuously investing and increasing our R&D investments into developing new engines of growth.

QUEST: On the geopolitical, on North Korea questions, Mr. President, where-where does this go from here? Where-you know, one can ask you 1,001 different questions about when talks start, when they might start. But at the end of the day, what happens next?

LEE: Yes, in the past, what we tried to do in-on the Korean Peninsula was to take what we call a step-by-step approach in trying to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program. But my administration has already made a proposal to North Korea, what we call the Grand Bargain. This entails North Korea to fully give up all of its nuclear weapons programs, and in return, we will see what we can provide for them, see what they need and then take it from there.

And so now is the time for North Korea to make that decisive, strategic decision whether they're going to give up their nuclear weapons program or not.

QUEST: Do you have any reason, today, to believe that the Grand Bargain is any closer to being accepted by the North?

LEE: Well, as you know, the six party talks consist of six countries and the five countries, excluding North Korea, there is a common understanding that this is the right way to go forward. If North Korea does make that strategic decision to give up all their nuclear weapons programs, I think there's a lot for them to benefit from it. And I think North Korea will be very interested in how we can move this forward. So once we resume the six party talks, we are ready to discuss this issue.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUEST: And later in tonight's program, meet President Lee once again, only this time, we'll be looking at his world at work, that's later on.

In just a moment, we need a caffeine rush after the break, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, the chief executive of Coca-Cola tells me how a traditional business such as his adapts to the current economic environment, and what needs to be done. In a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Good evening.

I'm Richard Quest, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

This is CNN.

The U.S. Economy sprang back to life at the end of '09 and beat analysts' forecasts. The world's largest economy grew at an annualized rate of 5.7 percent in Q4. That was more than twice as quick as the previous three.

If the initial figures are confirmed, it will be the best quarterly performance in six years. But, of course, there will be revisions to -- to more to come.

Much of the extra output was used to build inven -- business inventories, which had fallen sharply in the previous two years, as consumers reined in spending. The stimulus money flooding into the economy was a major part of the boost.

The market -- the big board in New York with that GDP data. And that's largely the reason why the market is up. The rally was much stronger at the start and earlier on, as you can tell from those early -- that -- the big bit of green on the left of the graph. Now, though, just 11 points higher, at 10131.

Shares in Coca-Cola one of the risers on the Dow at this session. They're about 1 percent higher than last I looked.

Today here in Davos, I spoke to the Coke chief executive, Muhtar Kent, to get his take on the global outlook.

Now, CEOs all over the world, particularly those here in Davos, are really thinking about how they're going to run their business in the new form of capitalism.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MUHTAR KENT, CHAIRMAN, COCA-COLA: We have been thinking about how to do things differently for a while now. And the -- in a nutshell, it's how do you connect the dots better between the individual, the corporation, the society and create a sustainable business through creating sustainable communities?

And I think that's really what the discussion is about, between business, between civil society, between government -- how to promote for the world to come together closer in terms of economics, in terms of society, in terms of environment.

QUEST: I know you're in the -- the quiet period in the moment before results, so it will be improper of me to ask you how the company is performing, but how is the company performing?

KENT: Well, the first three quarters of the year, we have kept in line with our long-term growth objectives in what was probably the most challenging...

QUEST: Yes.

KENT: ...economic environment in the last 20 or 30 years.

QUEST: Are things getting better?

KENT: Definitely, things are looking better than they were this time last year. Whether -- how quickly some places in the world will come out is another question. I think that we're going to see a gradual return to normalcy. The consumer is still very confused around the world. The consumer is confused, whether it's the consumers in China or in the United States, the consumer is confused.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUEST: Muhtar Kent, the chief executive of Coca-Cola.

And you can read more of Mr. Kent's views on the changing face of capitalism and the role of the large corporation at CNN.com.

Now, the weather. Look at it -- absolutely glorious tonight -- not too cold, very pleasant and not a hint of snow.

So do I need Guillermo Arduino at the World Weather Center to tell us anymore?

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I am going to tell you that you will get some more snow. So, hopefully, you're staying for the weekend there in Davos.

Are you or not?

QUEST: I'm staying for those panels and conferences tomorrow and I won't get on the slopes before you ask.

ARDUINO: OK. Well, they are going to get some -- some snow -- you are going to get some snow tomorrow, a little bit more -- not so much, but some. And then Sunday and Monday, a little bit less. It will continue to be cold. You know, I'm -- I'm surprised that you say that it's pleasant because it is -- we're going to see the latest observation coming from -- from there.

It's minus six, but it feels like minus 11. Probably what's happening is that the winds are coming from the south, so it's a little bit better that way.

I hope you enjoy the weekend. Let me tell you about Switzerland. In general, it's going to get more snow. What we have is a new, energized system that is coming southward here and it's bringing more snow to the places where we have seen some. So now we're getting probably half of what we were expecting yesterday. So up to 10 centimeters. This in two days, OK, so Friday and Saturday.

And then Berlin is getting up to seven. Warsaw is getting up to two centimeters of snow because of this energetic low here bringing the instability. But for some, you know, it's good instability, along with the moisture coming from the North Sea. So we will see 25 centimeters around that in Northern Poland and in Eastern Germany (INAUDIBLE) you know, airports are going to suffer all the way to the south in mi -- the south in Munich, Zurich, Vienna, Copenhagen. The windy conditions prevail in the Low Countries and into Ireland, as well.

Brussels is seeing now the snow that we anticipated and Berlin, some more snow. It seems that in the evening hours, it's going to be a little bit more intense.

Good in the West. Happy to see this, because I will be in Spain in two weeks -- around two weeks or so. So it's gradually going back to normal values.

And in the East, it's not that terrible. The problem is here in Stockholm, you see nine -- minus nine the high of the day. Let me tell you about problems in the United States. Oklahoma, if you have friends who are traveling into the south here anywhere, the big airports -- Nashville, not Nashville -- Memphis, Tennessee; FedEx is headquartered there and there's a lot of activity at the airport. We are going to see some problems with icy conditions.

Fortunately, the South is going to see rain only. So we do not anticipate significant delays over there. But Baltimore, Washington, D.C. are going to get some snow and, therefore, we will get some delays at airports, as well. We're talking about 30 centimeters or so of snow.

So we have some alerts posted here. You see in these areas, we have St. Louis, Charlotte, North Carolina -- what other airport -- Memphis, Nashville, Tennessee. It's not that huge, but it is a big airport. Atlanta is not going to be affected.

The temperatures, especially in Canada, minus 12 is the low, the high for Montreal. So that's pretty cold. Minus three in New York. And things are going back to normal in California, 17 in Los Angeles.

Let's see Asia. If you are going there on this weekend, you are going to see rain mostly, especially in the south. Probably Hong Kong will not see that much north of Hong Kong, all the way into Shanghai.

have a nice weekend -- Richard, have a nice weekend, you, too.

QUEST: I certainly intend to.

Thank you very much, Guillermo.

ARDUINO: Sure.

QUEST: You, too, as well.

One of the biggest myths here at Davos is that people actually get to ski when they come to the World Economic Forum.

When we come back, the World At Work of President Lee of South Korea. And you'll realize just what does take place at the Forum.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

QUEST: Earlier, we heard on the program from Lee Myung-Bak, the president of South Korea -- a man with a lot on his plate, as you might understand.

As president and the current head of the G20, well, he's been -- had lots of meetings here at the World Economic Forum.

We followed him around for today's installment, because this is a real presidential World At Work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

QUEST (voice-over): When it comes to doing business, President Lee is a busy man, from the moment he wakes at 4:30 to the time he retires late at night, every minute is mapped out.

We start following the president at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night. A flurry of activity as he arrives at his hotel, where he's hosting a Korean Night.

As bed beckons for most people, he has more meetings to attend and a business breakfast to prepare for.

MYUNG-BAK: Good morning to you.

Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, too.

QUEST: Twelve hours after he arrived at the hotel, 7:00 a.m. Friday, and I meet the president, who's already been up for hours.

(on camera): You really get up at 4:30 every morning?

MYUNG-BAK: Yes. Usually. Usually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every morning (INAUDIBLE).

QUEST (voice-over): More handshakes and smiles and everything is running like -- well, a Swiss clock. Presidential time is precious, so I have to be prompt. President Lee talks about his working life.

(on camera): What, to you, is the -- is the -- is the passion for doing your job?

MYUNG-BAK: Passion drives me and also the fact that when I make some achievements because of my passionate work, when I see that others have received a benefit because of my hard work, I find a -- a lot of sense of accomplishment and -- and so this really drives me toward in my work.

QUEST: One final question.

MYUNG-BAK: You have so many final questions.

(LAUGHTER)

QUEST: Do you get tired?

And if you do get tired, how do you keep going?

MYUNG-BAK: Of course I get tired, because I'm human. But I think compared to others, I get less tired, because other people, I think they get tired mainly because of the stress that they get from work. But for me, if I do get a little bit of stress every -- once a week, I play tennis with my friends and colleagues. And when I play tennis, this is the only time when -- when I can really forget about everything and -- and de- stress.

QUEST: Mr. President, when I'm in Korea, maybe we'll have the honor of a game of tennis.

MYUNG-BAK: Oh, sure. Yes.

QUEST: Many thanks.

(voice-over): My glimpse into President Lee's day is over, but he has many more people to meet. Cisco's John Chambers is quick to extend the hand of friendship and, hopefully, business.

JOHN CHAMBERS, CEO, CISCO: I want to congratulate you again on your success in so many areas. We're very proud of you.

MYUNG-BAK: Thank you.

QUEST: Bill Gates is more than happy to spend time with the increasingly influential leader.

The day in Davos is nearly done and the president is heading straight back to Seoul. I don't need to ask what he'll do when he arrives -- oh, he'll carry on working.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

QUEST: Our World At Work.

Our week of Davos coverage culminates in a special program this weekend. Join me for "DATELINE DAVOS," the best bits of the week, the biggest names from the world of business and politics. That's Saturday at 18:30 in Europe, 19:30 I Central Europe, 22:30 in Abu Dhabi. And it's all right here on CNN.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, our live coverage, which has been from Davos over the past five days.

People always say, why do you come to Davos?

The names and the people we've brought you this week are the reason why. It may be fashionable to say I'm not coming back, but we always do. So, with "MARKETPLACE MIDDLE EAST" coming up next, let me just say, I hope you've enjoyed our coverage and, as always, whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.

Remember him?

Jeff, the global snowman.

END