Wharton - University of Pennsylvania
Menu Search

Boards that Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value

Program Overview

Chief executives today face a number of challenges in the boardroom, among them, increased regulation, pressure from activist shareholders, and corporate governance reforms. Boards that Lead: Corporate Governance that Builds Value is a corporate governance program that provides practical steps that directors and executives of publicly traded companies can take to make their corporate performance most effective through collaborative leadership.

The program provides intriguing insights into corporate governance, giving directors and C-suite executives the knowledge they need to be a high-performing board that adds significant value to the company. Executives who attend this program gain a new perspective on corporate board governance and what constitutes a strong board while acquiring the skills to more easily collaborate, lead, and motivate each other and management.

Read more about the Experience & Impact »

Corporate Governance Program Highlights & Benefits

  • Understand how the role of a board of directors has changed in today’s increasingly regulated business environment
  • Gain an insider’s view of some of the world’s most dynamic boardrooms from the executives who lead them
  • Acquire the proven roadmap for designing and leading an effective board
  • Uncover the best methods to recruit and select the most qualified directors
  • Collaborate more effectively as a board director, chairman, or chief executive

Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:


participant at corporate executive board training program

Dates TBD

Download the program schedule, including session details.

Tuition for Philadelphia programs includes lodging and meals. Prices are subject to change.

boards that lead useem

Featured Video

“Boards are committed, can think strategically, and have the potential to bring great value to their companies. But few organizations tap into that potential.”

Professor Mike Useem on Boards that Lead

Still considering your options? View programs within Leadership or use our Program Finder.

Experience & Impact

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

It 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.

In sum, this program provides board directors and chief executives with insights and proven strategies to build and lead boards more effectively.

Session topics include:

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

Through practitioner-led lectures and first-rate networking with other boardroom leaders, participants will discover their own pathway for leadership success.

You 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


For the February 2018 session of Boards that Lead, there will be several distinguished speakers who will share their experiences. The following speakers have been confirmed:

F. William McNabb III
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Mark A. Turner
Chairman, President & CEO
WSFS Bank — We Stand For Service

Participant Profile

Participants by Industry

Boards that Lead participants by industry

Participants by Job Function

Boards that Lead participants by job function 

Participants by Region

Boards that Lead participants by region

Who Should Attend

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 or private equity funds, and 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.

Participants leave the program with a richer peer network, enhanced understanding of corporate governance, and proven strategic principles that they can apply to enhance their own boards.

Plan Your Stay »


Michael Useem, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Academic Director

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

Research Interests: Catastrophic and enterprise risk management, corporate change and restructuring, leadership, decision making, governance

Dennis Carey    See Faculty Bio

Vice Chairman, Korn Ferry International

Ram Charan   See Faculty Bio

Wharton Senior Fellow, renowned speaker, and acclaimed author

Emilie Feldman, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: corporate governance, corporate strategy, diversification, divestitures, firm scope, spinoffs

Harbir Singh, PhD   See Faculty Bio

Mack Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management; Vice Dean, Global Initiatives

Research Interests: Corporate governance, corporate restructuring, management buyouts, strategies for corporate acquisitions


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 both to my firm and personally. 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.”

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

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

Boards that Lead

Boards That Lead, by Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, and Michael Useem has been called “a must for anyone who sits on a major corporate board — or who wants to understand them,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Back to Top