Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise 2017
Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise 2017


A 3-day Education Program on Corporate Governance for Family Companies

TODAY’S BUSINESS LANDSCAPE sees an accelerating rate of technological change, unprecedented competition and increased globalization. More than ever before, family companies need high-performing, strategic boards that help the owners think about the company’s future. Having a company that is well-steered by a strong board is a significant advantage for the owners of family companies.


The Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise program provides an orientation on the fundamentals of boards for family companies.

How would a high-functioning board benefit your company and owners? How do you create a board, manage it, strengthen it or change it to meet the current and future needs of your business? How do you best contribute as a director on a board of a family business? How do you lead a family business board that you chair?

Over three days, through rich discussion, classroom sessions, exercises and Harvard case studies, participants will understand boards more deeply and acquire skills to effectively contribute as board members now and in the future.

Topics and themes include:


  • Why have a board?
  • What does the data reveal about good boards and company performance?
  • How can owners maximize the value of their board?
  • What are the different types of boards, and which is right for my family business?
  • What should a board provide to the owners and the company?


  • What are the responsibilities of boards?
  • What is the board’s role in setting strategy, monitoring performance, overseeing management and CEO succession?
  • What are the proper boundaries and means of coordination between shareholders, management and the board?
  • How can boards effectively connect to the owners and family, particularly with growing sibling and cousin ownership groups?


  • How do you compose an effective board? Who should serve on it? What is the appropriate size? What are appropriate qualifications for family directors and independent directors?
  • What is expected of directors?
  • How do you recruit and compensate board members?
  • What are appropriate terms of office and retirement ages?
  • What are special considerations when recruiting independent directors?
  • How can family directors contribute appropriately to the board?
  • Which board committees are necessary?


  • What does an effective board meeting accomplish and look like?
  • What are the best practices for effective board agendas?
  • What is the role of the Chairman vis-à-vis the CEO?
  • What are the qualities of an effective Chair?


  • How do you create a new board? How do you improve an existing board?
  • How and when do you turnover your board members?
  • How do you evaluate your current board?
  • How does a board become a successful decision-making group?
  • How do you prepare the next generation of board members?


Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Professor and Honorary Dean Vlerick Business School

Professor Philippe Haspeslagh is Honorary Dean and Professor at the Vlerick Business School, a Belgian business school with campuses in Brussels, Gent, Leuven, Saint Petersburg and Beijing. He led the school from 2008- 2015. Until 2008 he was the Paul Desmarais Chaired Professor of Active Ownership at INSEAD where he started the International Directors Forum and directed the Advanced Management Programme.

Professor John A. Davis

Professor John A. Davis

Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

For over thirty years, Dr. John A. Davis has served as an academic, advisor, writer and speaker in the family enterprise field. He is a global authority on family enterprise, family wealth, leadership and succession. He is Founder and Chairman of the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, and Chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School, where he has been on the faculty since 1997. He is the 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.


Eduardo Gentil

Eduardo Gentil

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Eduardo Gentil is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where he advises business families on issues related to succession, boards of directors, family and ownership governance, financial planning, and ownership strategies. Since 2000, he has led the Brazil practice of Cambridge Advisors, and has worked globally with multigenerational families. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School.

Andrew Hier

Andrew Hier

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Andrew Hier is a Senior Advisor and Partner at Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise where he advises business families globally on issues related to shareholder relationships, ownership strategies, succession and next generation issues, and governance of the family, owners and business. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world, including at the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. An attorney, he is co-author of the forthcoming book, Understanding the Power of Ownership. He is active in the Family Firm Institute, the premiere association of advisors serving families, where he co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference.

Whitney MacMillan

Whitney MacMillan

Chairman Emeritus and Former CEO, Cargill

Whitney MacMillan served as CEO of Cargill from 1976 to 1995. He was the last member of the Cargill family to serve as CEO. During his tenure, Cargill went from $10 billion to $33 billion over ten years. By the 1980s, it became the world's largest grain company, outstripping its European rivals.

Dr. Pascale Michaud

Dr. Pascale Michaud

Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

Pascale Michaud is an advisor to family enterprises throughout the world on strategies and governance models for their successful continuity. She advises multigenerational family enterprises on issues of corporate growth, business strategy and governance, innovation management, digital preparedness, leadership transitions, next generation development, family governance, and family and corporate philanthropy.


Classroom Venue:

Hult International Business School
1 Education Street
Cambridge, MA 02141, USA

Hult International Business School's Boston campus is located on the bank of the Charles River in Cambridge, among America’s most prestigious universities.



Hotel Accomodation:

Royal Sonesta Boston
40 Edwin Land Boulevard
Cambridge, MA 02142, USA
+1 (617) 806-4200

The Royal Sonesta Boston Hotel combines modern style with breathtaking city views right along the famous Charles River in Cambridge. Located between both Cambridge and Boston, all you need is easily accessible.

The Royal Sonesta Boston Hotel is a 0.3-mile (0.48-km) walk to the Hult International Business School, where the education program takes place.

To receive the special room block rate of $209 USD per night, please book your room online by March 6, 2017. There is a limited number of rooms, so we recommend that you book your accommodations as soon as possible to guarantee that you will be able to stay at this convenient hotel so close to the classroom venue.


If you would like our recommendations for other hotels in the area, please contact Dina Dvinov at [email protected] or +1 (617) 871-1498.




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 for:

  • 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.

The registration fee includes tuition, materials, and most meals. Please arrange for your own travel and hotel accommodations.