Dr. John A. Davis
Founder and Chairman
Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
Professor John A. Davis is founder and chairman of Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global organization he created in 1989 that is devoted to helping families achieve long-term and lasting success for their families, enterprises, and financial wealth. It is comprised of two divisions: Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a highly specialized, international advisory firm serving family enterprises, and Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, a leading education and research institute dedicated to the significant issues family enterprises face.
Professor Davis is a globally recognized pioneer and authority on issues related to the family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. Since the 1970s, he has been a leading researcher, author, advisor, and speaker on family enterprise, and is the creator of some the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks. His insights help to build shareholder value, develop leaders, strengthen families, professionalize businesses and family offices, and pass sustainable enterprises to the next generation.
Trained in management, psychology, and economics, Professor Davis has advised multigenerational family enterprises in more than 65 countries, including a number of the world’s leading business families. He advises on long-term sustainability; governance; family wealth; family office; ownership strategies; developing next generation talent; succession transitions; life and career planning; conflict resolution and family unity; selling the family business; and adapting to disruptive change, among others.
A renowned academic and shaper of the family enterprise field, Professor Davis leads the family enterprise suite of programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He teaches family business and family office management, and strategies for family enterprises to position themselves for the future. He leads two executive programs: Future Family Enterprise: Sustaining Multigenerational Success and Founder to Family: Succeeding the Founder in the Family Enterprise. During his 21 years on the faculty of Harvard Business School, Professor Davis founded and led Harvard’s family business management area and was founding faculty chair of the Families in Business program. He also taught the MBA course, Management of the Family Business, and family business management in the Owner/President Management executive program.
Professor Davis speaks at conferences and workshops for business families around the world, such as for the World Economic Forum, Harvard Business Review, YPO and WPO, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, Family Business Network, as well as for financial institutions, private member networks, and individual family companies.
Professor Davis has written significant works explaining family enterprise dynamics and has created many of the leading conceptual frameworks in the field. His most known contribution is the Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System, the fundamental paradigm in the field which he created with HBS Professor Renato Tagiuri. He also co-authored Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work. His extensive body of educational materials is used by graduate schools of business around the globe. He is regularly cited in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, Economist, Bloomberg, NPR, Forbes, and Fortune.
Professor Davis earned his Doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, his M.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, and his A.B. in Economics with high honors from Kenyon College.