Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise

Sheraton Commander Hotel
Cambridge, MA
April 11 - 13, 2016


A Forward-Looking Board is a Powerful Tool for Owners to Steer their Family Enterprise in the Next Economy.

Industries today face an accelerating rate of disruptive change, globalization, and competition.

More than ever, family businesses need value-creating Boards that partner with family owners and senior executives to set proper ambitious goals, adapt business models, and rethink resource allocation. A partnering Board guides owners with scaling their business(es) through organic growth or acquisitions, divestitures, liquidity events, new investments, setting up a family office, or other important activities.

In addition, a strategic Board at the highest level of the enterprise helps owners set direction for the family’s entire portfolio of businesses, investments, and entities. It helps define how the family can make its most important contributions to the enterprise. It helps ensure that the family enterprise makes the bold decisions needed to endure through the next generation.

A well-constructed Board is invaluable to growing family wealth and shaping the future of a multigenerational family enterprise.


“I found the Worldclass Boards Program truly inspiring, and loved every minute of it. It answered all of the questions that I had about good family business governance.”
– 5th generation Chairwoman of a global family business


Program Overview

The Building a Worldclass Board Program accelerates the planning and revitalization of a family enterprise’s corporate governance system—whether for an operating company, portfolio of companies, holding company, or family office.


The program explores the following themes related to how owners can maximize the value of their board(s):

  1. Governance Architecture: What are the different types of boards, and what are the right boards for your family enterprise?
  2. Role of the Board: What are the duties of a board at different stages in a family enterprise’s evolution?
  3. Board Design and Functionality: How is a board structured, composed, managed, and led?
  4. Board Performance: How is a board’s effectiveness evaluated and strengthened?
  5. Individual Impact: How do individuals more effectively contribute to the board, or prepare to serve on or lead the board?

The program strengthens the performance of directors, and expedites the preparation of future board members and board Chairs.


Topics Discussed


  • What a board provides to the owners, and what the owners need from the board to navigate the challenges of the next economy
  • Different types of boards and different roles for boards in this disruptive environment
  • How to architect the right board(s) for your family enterprise: operating companies, investment companies, impact investing entities, family office, and holding company



  • How the board reconnects with, and advances, the family enterprise’s vision for the future
  • Training the next generation to be solid board members
  • Symbiotic relationship and coordination between the Board and family governance



  • Main duties of a good board
  • Board’s responsibilities to gain economies of scope and reinforce the innovation agenda
  • Board’s role in integrating corporate strategy and talent strategy



  • How to compose an effective board, and the different composition needs of different boards
  • Independent directors: recruiting, compensation, and getting the most value from them
  • Family directors: preparation, development, and getting the most value from them



  • Evolving role of the Board Chair or Executive Chair in a disruptive environment, including lessons from a Chairman’s first-hand experience
  • Effective board agendas, and what good board meetings accomplish
  • Evaluation of the board



  • Over the course of the program, each team develops an action plan for their family enterprise’s board(s)
  • Each individual develops an action plan for his/her own professional development as a board member
  • Action plans are designed with tailored guidance from the faculty to address each board’s goals and challenges

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Program Chair: Eduardo Gentil

Program Chair: Eduardo Gentil

Fellow, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise

Eduardo Gentil is an advisor to business families on issues related to succession, financial planning, ownership strategies, governance and recruiting and retaining a non-family CEO. Since 2000 he has led the São Paulo office of Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a global advisory firm serving business families, where he is Senior Partner. Prior to advising family enterprises, Mr. Gentil spent his career in investment banking in Brazil and New York.

Professor John A. Davis

Professor John A. Davis

Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise;
Chair, Families in Business Program, Harvard Business School

For over thirty years, John A. Davis has served as an academic, advisor, writer and speaker in the family enterprise field. He is a leading authority on family enterprise and family wealth. He is Founder and Chairman of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, and Chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. He is author of Enduring Advantage: Collected Essays on Family Enterprise, Next Generation Success and Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the family enterprise field.

Andrew Hier

Andrew Hier

Fellow, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise

Andrew Hier is an advisor to business families globally, specializing in family and business governance, shareholder relationships, ownership strategies and succession issues. Mr. Hier is co-author of the forthcoming book, Understanding the Power of Ownership. He is active in the Family Firm Institute (FFI), an association of advisors serving families, having co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference, and holds a certificate in family business advising from FFI.

Philippe Haspeslagh

Philippe Haspeslagh

Professor and Honorary Dean, Vlerick Business School

Paulo Vasconcellos

Paulo Vasconcellos

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise; Senior Associate Partner, Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise

Paulo Vasconcellos is an advisor to business families on strategies for the successful continuity of their enterprises. He is senior associate partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise, a highly specialized international advisory firm serving family enterprises. Based in São Paulo, Brazil, Mr. Vasconcellos has advised multigenerational family enterprises of diverse sizes, generations and industries in Brazil since 2001. His areas of focus include corporate governance; preparing family members for board positions; leadership development for CEOs, board members and the next generation; and executive coaching.

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Sheraton Commander Hotel

In the heart of Harvard Square in historic Cambridge, Massachusetts.


This program is well suited to current and future board members and owners of a family-owned or family-controlled enterprise of any size, generation, industry and geography. It is particularly useful for those who would benefit from an orientation to how good boards function.

Whether your family business has a board you want to strengthen, is considering creating a board, or will soon appoint new directors to your board, the program is useful to:

  • Current board members (family and non-family) who want to contribute more effectively to the board
  • Future board members or successors who want to understand the fundamentals of boards and how to contribute to them
  • Chairs of boards who want to know how best to run a strong board
  • Owners of family companies who wish to set up a new board, improve a current board, or want to know how best to use their board
  • Family members interested in increasing their knowledge of high-performing boards

$7,500 USD per person
$6,500 USD per person for groups of 3 or more from the same family or company.

Space is limited so register today.

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