In-Person Program

Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise

Samberg Conference Center
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
October 10-13, 2023

A Program on Strategic Corporate Governance for Family Businesses


Do you want to strengthen your board’s performance and extract more value from your board? Do you want your board to better support your family business and the owners in being future-ready? Do you want more from your board as you grow value and set strategies for success from generation to generation?

Join us for the annual program, Building a Worldclass Board for the Family Enterprise: a 3.5-day, in-person program to help the boards of family businesses be more strategic, more adaptive, and more valuable to the owners and company.

Program Overview

A well-constructed board is invaluable to growing family wealth and shaping the future of a multigenerational family enterprise. Owners who architect their corporate governance structures and processes to be agile, strategic, and value-creating will see the returns for decades to come.

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. It is tailored for organizations controlled by family ownership groups.

This program helps board members, owners, and CEOs refresh their thinking, rearchitect their board(s), and strengthen their board’s performance so their corporate governance is positioned for success into the future.

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

CFEG Education Programs Key Takeaways  What are the main themes explored?

The program explores the following themes related to how owners can maximize the value of their boards:

  1. Governance Architecture: What are the different types of boards, and what are the right boards for your family enterprise, given where you are going? How does the board fit into the broader governance map of the family enterprise?
  2. Role of the Board: What are the duties of a board at different stages in a family enterprise’s evolution? What are the responsibilities of boards particularly to navigate today’s turbulent landscape?
  3. Board Design and Functionality: How should a board be structured, composed, managed, and led? How do generational transitions on boards happen effectively?
  4. Board Performance: How is a board’s effectiveness measured, evaluated, and strengthened?
  5. Individual Contribution: How do individuals effectively contribute to the board, or prepare to serve on or lead the board?


A Forward-Looking Board is a Powerful Tool for Owners to Steer their Family Enterprise

In today’s environment, boards, owners, CEOs, and management teams face high-stakes decisions. Industries face an accelerating rate of disruptive change. Business models are wearing out more quickly. Technology is advancing rapidly. Value creation methods are morphing. Family ownership groups are becoming more diverse and dispersed. Generational transitions are more complex today.

Family businesses must adapt to remain successful in this turbulent age—and so must their boards.

More than ever, family businesses need value-creating boards that partner with family owners and senior executives in this environment. High-performing corporate governance is a crucial vehicle for family enterprises to remain successful today.

What is a value-creating board? One that partners with family owners and senior executives to set proper ambitious goals, adapt their business models, rethink resource allocation, choose the right leaders, and facilitate generational transitions. It is a board that gains altitude and focuses on strategically important, governance-level issues, not on operations. It is a partnering board that guides owners through the significant decisions that need to be made for the future. These can include scaling their businesses, M&A, divestitures, liquidity events, new investments, new technologies, smart diversification, family office decisions, choosing the right next CEO, supporting the succession transition, and 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 entire enterprise. It helps ensure that the family enterprise makes the bold decisions needed to endure through the next generation. It guides the next generation as they take the helm and lead the enterprise in new directions and into new value-creation activities.


What topics are discussed throughout the sessions?


  • Different types of boards and different roles for boards in a family enterprise
  • Transitioning an operational board to a strategic board
  • 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 connects with, and advances, the owners’ vision and values
  • What a board provides to the owners, and what the owners need from the board
  • Symbiotic coordination between the board and other governance structures (e.g. family council, owners council, investment committee)
  • Training the next generation to be solid board members


  • Main duties of a good board
  • Board’s responsibilities to the owners, to management, and vice versa
  • How good boards contribute to value-creation
  • New approaches for corporate governance in this turbulent age
  • Board’s role in integrating the next generation into the company, ownership, and onto the board


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


  • Role of the Board Chair or Executive Chair, including lessons from first-hand experience
  • Effective board agendas, board committees, and what good board meetings accomplish
  • Professionalizing the board
  • Advancing the agility and pace of decision-making of the board
  • 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
  • Each team has one individual meeting with a faculty member to address their board’s goals and challenges in a private coaching session

The combination of educational presentations with individual consultation is a perfect model. Participating in the Building a Worldclass Board Program has been very helpful in moving forward in our family.


2nd generation family
business, U.K.

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The Building a Worldclass Board Program exceeded my expectations as the instructors addressed many real-life cases of how to effectively run a business and a family board. The information was relevant and very actionable. I would highly recommend it to any business and family interested in improving accountability, communication and results.


1st generation family
business, U.S.



Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Program Chair: Professor Philippe Haspeslagh

Teaching Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise
Professor and Honorary Dean Vlerick Business School

Professor Philippe Haspeslagh is a Teaching Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise and leads its Building a Worldclass Board Program. He served as Chair of the Board of his own multigenerational family business, and has taught family business at leading business schools around the world. He is Honorary Dean and Professor at the Vlerick Business School, a Belgian business school that he led 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 led the Advanced Management Programme.

Professor John A. Davis

Professor John A. Davis

Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise

John A. Davis is a globally recognized pioneer and authority on family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. He is a researcher, educator, author, architect of the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks, and advisor to leading families around the world. He leads the family enterprise programs at MIT Sloan. He is the author of Enduring Advantage: Collected Essays on Family EnterpriseNext Generation Success and Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, a preeminent work in the family enterprise field.

Andrew Hier

Andrew Hier

Teaching Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise
Senior Advisor and Partner, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

Andrew Hier is an advisor to business families globally on issues related to governance, shareholder relationships, ownership strategies, succession, and next generation issues. He is a Fellow at Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise where he teaches and facilitates in family business programs around the world. He is active in the Family Firm Institute, the premiere association of advisors serving families, where he co-chaired the 2014 Global Conference and in 2020 he received the prestigious Interdisciplinary Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in the advancement of interdisciplinary services to business families.

Andrew Hier

Matt Hively

Teaching Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise
Senior Advisor, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

Matt is an advisor to family enterprises on the strategies, portfolio models, governance models, and business models required for their successful, long-term continuity. He advises the ownership groups of family-owned enterprises around the world on issues of portfolio and investment strategy, portfolio governance, corporate growth, corporate governance and the alignment of the owners around a shared vision, mission, values, and strategy. His primary focus is advising on portfolio strategy and transformation, including portfolio design, asset allocation, diversification, divestiture, international expansion, risk management, governance, organization design, and owners’ alignment around their future direction.

Eduardo Gentil, Senior Advisor and Partner, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

  Eduardo Gentil

Teaching Fellow, Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise
Senior Advisor and Associate Partner, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

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.

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Samberg Conference Center

50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142

The conference center is located in the Kendall Square neighborhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kendall Square has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation.

Program Hotel:
Boston Marriott Cambridge
50 Broadway Cambridge, MA 02142

The Boston Marriott Cambridge is a 5-minute walk from the Samberg Conference Center. A limited hotel block at the rate of $379 per night is available for the program dates until September 19, 2023. Please book your room as soon as you register for the program so that you are guaranteed a room.
Reserve your room here.


Who will benefit from participating?

This program is tailored for operating companies, portfolios of companies, or family offices controlled by family ownership groups. It is beneficial for current and future owners and board members—both family and independent—of privately-held or publicly-traded family businesses worldwide.

It is useful for teams of three or more to attend together—with at least one experienced board member—in order to get the most out of the deep discussions and forward-thinking planning that occurs during the program.

Each team develops an Action Plan with specific goals and initiatives, with guidance from faculty during private meetings.

Family businesses at any stage are welcome. The course material is advantageous for those seeking to create a new board; revitalize an existing one; reconnect their board(s) to the overall vision for the enterprise; group boards together to achieve economies of scope; or add a board for the family office, investment company, impact investing foundation, or holding company.



Early registration discount ends June 29, 2023

    • $6,250 for the first participant, and
    • $5,000 for each additional person from the same family or company

After June 29, 2023

    • $8,250 for the first participant, and
    • $7,000 for each additional person from the same family or company

Registration fee includes tuition, a private advisory meeting with a faculty member, materials, and most meals.

Register Here

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