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Boards that Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value

Feb 23, 2017 - Feb 24, 2017Philadelphia, PA$4,200

A corporate board of directors can create tremendous value for a publicly-traded company. However, an absence of leadership can destroy it.

Increased regulation, shareholder pressures, and corporate governance reforms over the past decade were intended to strengthen the oversight function of boards, leaving the ceremonial role behind. But in the 21st century, becoming better monitors is not enough. Directors need to know when to take charge, when to partner, and when to get out of the way. The fate of businesses, employees, and shareholders depends on their effective leadership on the most crucial issues.

This new program, Boards that Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value, expands on the working concept of corporate governance from one of shareholder oversight to director leadership of the most vital company decisions. It provides practical steps that directors and executives can take to make their collaborative leadership most effective and gives new insight on how the board can partner and or delegate. Specifically, participants of this program will learn:

  • What a company should look for when recruiting new directors
  • How a board can effectively engage and motivate corporate management.
  • How a board determines suitability when hiring a new CEO
  • How an institutional investor or private equity or hedge fund should evaluate a board before investing in a company

Based on the book Boards That Lead: When to Take Charge, When to Partner, and When to Stay Out of the Way, this executive education program provides the latest thinking from some of the world’s most knowledgeable boardroom veterans on how directors can best make a leadership difference.

Impact & Experience

This program will examine the changing role of boards with some of the world’s most pre-eminent thought leaders on the subject. Participants who currently serve on a board will learn how to improve their leadership and decision-making effectiveness. Aspiring board members and those whose roles involve extensive contact with directors will get fresh insights on how to partner with boards and build boards that add new value to the company.

Classroom sessions will be led by faculty and distinguished practitioners including Ram Charan, a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most successful CEOs and consultant to such companies as GE, Bank of America, DuPont, Novartis, EMC, Home Depot, and Verizon. In addition, Boards that Lead will give participants an insider’s view of some of today’s most notable executive offices and boardrooms. An evening panel of prominent, highly experienced executives and directors will share their insights and discuss specific strategies and approaches.

Session topics include:

  • The New Role of the Board
  • CEO and Director Selection
  • Designing Effective Boards
  • How to Succeed in the Boardroom
  • Board Principles

Who Attends This Program

Boards that Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value is designed for:

  • Current and prospective directors
  • Corporate secretaries, general counsels of a corporation
  • Institutional investors or executives who work for hedge funds, private-equity funds
  • Securities regulators and equity analysts

It is also beneficial for senior-level executives who want to gain an understanding of how directors move beyond monitoring and help lead a publicly-traded company.


  • Michael Useem, PhD

    Academic Director

    William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management; Editor, Wharton Leadership Digest; Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Corporate change and restructuring, leadership, decision making, and governanceSee Faculty Bio

  • Dennis Carey

    Vice Chairman, Korn/Ferry International

    See Faculty Bio

  • Ram Charan

    Wharton Senior Fellow, renowned speaker, and acclaimed author

    See Faculty Bio

Program Logistics

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change. Contact a member of the Wharton Executive Education Client Relations team for more information on course specifics and to discuss how this program can meet your professional development needs. Please contact them by email or by phone at +1.215.898.1776.

Plan Your Stay


Katheen Rebernak

“Wharton’s Boards that Lead program helped me understand more deeply how to navigate the governance issues board leaders are facing today. Wharton’s instructors were top notch, and the people they brought in to speak with us were experienced executives who were able to engage us with tried strategies. As the CEO of a consulting firm, I found the program particularly useful to both my firm; most of our clients are large public companies, and we help them identify their current and emerging governance issues. The course was useful to me personally as I serve on two boards.

“As we worked through the exercises, I came to understand that the issues I struggle with are the same ones that challenge directors who have served on boards for years. To be an effective board member, you really need to vet your conscience and speak up, even if your idea is contrary to the prevailing sentiment within the group. Board members must also be cognizant of conflicts of interest that exist among board members, and also within themselves.

“I’ve already applied insights from the program in a recent board meeting I attended, during which we discussed candidates to fill two board positions. We discussed how board members not only must have the right skill sets and areas of expertise; it’s important to understand what kind of board culture you want to cultivate. We came to a pool of prospective candidates who we believed would actively serve and be there for the advancement of the organization rather then merely their own self-interest. Wharton’s program underscored how important it is for board members to have an open and collaborative relationship with each other in order for the board as a whole to be an effective leader.”
Kathee Rebernak, CEO, Framework LLC, a management consultancy


“Wharton’s Boards that Lead takes corporate governance to an entirely new level with a new leadership framework – so we know when to lead, when to partner, and when to just get out of the way.  This approach is cutting edge, as was the thought leadership that emerged during our peer-to-peer discussions.  An energizing experience — and a ‘must attend’ for all board members.”
Mary Kay Scucci, PhD, CPA, Managing Director, SIFMA

Praise for the book Boards that Lead:

“Boards That Lead provides the essential road map for corporate leadership. With gripping accounts and compelling illustrations, Charan, Carey, and Useem show how directors can lead in strategic partnership with company executives. This is a game changer, required reading for all who seek to bring out the best in their boards.”
Alan Mulally, CEO and President, Ford Motor Company


“This book shows how, through leading, partnering, and delegating, boards are now starting to shape the architecture of the company in unprecedented ways. This book is rich with stories—there is nothing like learning from three world-leading practitioners on advancing board capabilities to get the company to raise its game.”
Fred Hassan, Managing Director (Health care), Warburg Pincus; Chairman and director, Bausch + Lomb; former Chairman and CEO, Schering-Plough; former lead director, Avon Products; director, Time Warner


“Boards That Lead offers an illuminating road map for how a board of directors can effectively engage and motivate its corporate management team to successfully navigate even the most complex of situations. This book should be on the ‘must-read’ list of every corporate board member and senior executive.”
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President and CEO, TIAA-CREF


“This research, complete with compelling anecdotes and practical information, brilliantly explores how creative, flexible, and innovative processes provide the foundation for long-term, sustainable partnerships between the board and the companies they serve. This work captures the true innovation intended to guide the leadership mandate for any board.”
Ivan G. Seidenberg, former Chairman and CEO, Verizon Communications; former Chairman, Business Roundtable


“Boards That Lead is chock full of real-world examples that directors can use to improve their leadership and decision making—an impressive one-stop shop outlining board member roles, responsibilities, and actions, including the boundaries that boards and companies often fail to recognize. The checklists for putting this advice into action are comprehensive and practical— the best I have seen.”
Maggie Wilderotter, Chairman and CEO, Frontier Communications; director, Procter & Gamble and Xerox Corporation

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