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. It is devoted to helping families and ownership groups navigate the new economy and achieve multigenerational 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 that 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. In the context of today’s turbulent era, his insights help to build shareholder value, grow resilient portfolios, develop leaders and owners, strengthen families, professionalize organizations, and pass sustainable enterprises to the next generation.
Trained in management, psychology, and economics, Professor Davis advises multigenerational family enterprises from more than 70 countries, including a number of the world’s leading business families. He advises on navigating this turbulent era; long-term success; family wealth; portfolio design; family office; ownership strategies; governance; 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 area at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He chairs Future Family Enterprise and co-chairs Owning Impact, two executive programs for family enterprises. He teaches MBA and executive courses on family business; family office, family social impact, next generation development, and strategies for family enterprises to position themselves for the future. He also teaches in programs at the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, including Making Family Councils More Effective, Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise, and Compounding Your Family’s Wealth. 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 chair of Harvard’s family business courses.
Professor Davis speaks at conferences and workshops for enterprising families around the world, such as for the World Economic Forum and the Family Business Network, as well as for financial institutions, private member networks, and individual family companies.
Professor Davis has developed significant works and conceptual models explaining family enterprise dynamics. His most known contribution are the Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System, the fundamental paradigm in the field which he created with HBS Professor Renato Tagiuri in 1978 and the Family Enterprise framework. He co-authored the preeminent book, Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business and is the author of the book Enduring Advantage. He has authored three additional books and regularly publishes articles to guide family enterprises through today’s changing world. His extensive body of educational materials is used by graduate schools of business around the globe. He is regularly cited in the media 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, an M.A. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin, and an A.B. in Economics with high honors from Kenyon College.
To learn more, follow Professor Davis on twitter at @ProfJohnDavis and explore his writings and upcoming activities at johndavis.com.