Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era, you will:

  • Explore board opportunities for C-suite officers in areas including technology, human resources, and sustainability
  • Grasp how a director’s role is changing in today’s social, legal, and business environment
  • Learn to present yourself as an attractive candidate for boards
  • Look inside the process for nominating, selecting, and onboarding directors

Experience and Impact

Traditional board governance is a thing of the past. Today’s directors must be ready and able to handle a wide range of enterprise risks that could impact a large company. Led by top Wharton management faculty, Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era offers those aspiring to be on boards, recently appointed to a board, or experienced directors and company executives a wide-ranging look at what constitutes successful board service in the current environment. The specific content of the program will also be informed by the most pressing issues facing corporate boards. The focus will include company and legal issues related to diversity and inclusion; environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics; and leading in the boardroom.

Participants will explore how to present themselves as candidates for boards against the backdrop of social and legislative efforts to make boards more ethnically diverse and gender inclusive. You will also learn about the functional capabilities that are valued on boards, including strategy, technology, human resources, sustainability, and international experience. You will acquire strategies for marketing yourself to recruiters and come to recognize the value you can bring to a boardroom setting.

Individuals already on boards will gain new insights into managing emerging sources of enterprise risk and how best to diversify their board to address new regulations and investor expectations.

In addition to the outstanding faculty, selected guest speakers will enhance the program’s practical, real-world approach. Speakers may include veteran board chairs and lead directors; a federal prosecutor who has conducted internal investigations for major telecommunications and financial firms; and an executive-search partner experienced in board recruitment and onboarding.

A valuable benefit of this program is the substantial networking opportunity. You will have time to interact with seasoned and board-ready individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, providing for an expanded peer group. The need has never been greater for board members with new perspectives and experience. Timely and unique, Corporate Governance helps you take full advantage of the rapidly changing environment for both board selection and director responsibilities.

Session topics include:

  • Enterprise challenges and risks including climate change, job displacement, global trade, disease epidemics, and social responsibility
  • Creating opportunities for those who have been underrepresented in the boardroom
  • Characteristics of successful board leaders
  • Overseeing management
  • Building diversity, equity, and inclusion in the boardroom
  • Leading boards through legal issues and other crises
  • Succession planning
  • Bringing environmental and social issues into the boardroom
  • Designing political and social strategies
  • Shareholder activism

Wharton LIVE Online Programming

Real-time peer learning with deep faculty engagement and global networking

The live, online version of Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era will be delivered for two consecutive weeks. It will be taught by the same Wharton faculty who teach in our on-campus classes. This program offers, and requires, a high level of participant engagement through class discussion and case studies.

Participants will have direct access to Wharton faculty throughout the program and engage in dynamic group work that helps reinforce the learning and enable networking among the peer community.

This timely program will explore many of the hot button issues facing corporate boards today. By attending this program, you will come away better equipped to face the challenges of being a board member both now and in the future.

Program Duration:

Apr. 6 – 14, 2022
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT
Five days over two weeks
Week 1: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Week 2: Wednesday and Thursday

Convince Your Supervisor

Here’s a justification letter you can edit and send to your supervisor to help you make the case for attending this Wharton program.

Due to our application review period, applications submitted after 12:00 p.m. ET on Friday for programs beginning the following Monday may not be processed in time to grant admission. Applicants will be contacted by a member of our Client Relations Team to discuss options for future programs and dates.

Guest Speakers

Janet Foutty
Executive Chair of the Board, Deloitte

Janet Foutty is executive chair of the board, Deloitte. She leads the board in providing governance and oversight on critical business matters including strategy, brand positioning, risk mitigation, talent development, and leadership succession. Janet is also a member of Deloitte’s Global Board of Directors, and chair of Deloitte Foundation, the 90-year old not-for-profit organization that helps develop future talent and promote excellence in teaching, research, and curriculum innovation.

Janet’s leadership experience includes most recently serving as chair and chief executive officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP where she led a $10B business comprised of over 50,000 professionals in helping Fortune 500 companies and government agencies translate complex issues into opportunity.

She previously led Deloitte’s federal practice dedicated to improving the efficacy and efficiency of US government agencies; as well as Deloitte Consulting LLP’s technology practice, which achieved exponential growth through acquisitions and the launch of businesses including Deloitte Digital. She has also held leadership roles on client programs that span retail, technology, government, energy, and financial services industries. Janet is a frequent author and popular public speaker. She regularly communicates with executive-level audiences about the changing business landscape, technology disruption, and leadership. Janet is a passionate advocate for inclusion in the workplace; women in technology; and the need for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. She has founded Women in Technology groups in India and the United States. Janet serves on the board of directors of Bright Pink, a nonprofit dedicated to women’s health, and Catalyst, a global nonprofit working to build more inclusive workplaces. She serves on the advisory boards of NYU Stern’s Tech MBA program, Columbia Law School’s Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership, and the executive committee for the Council on Competitiveness.Janet holds a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University, and a Masters of Business Administration in finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She is an inductee of the Kelley School of Business Academy of Alumni Fellows, and a member of the Kelley School of Business Dean’s Council.

Watch the Video: Janet Foutty, Chair of the Board for Deloitte, talks about the key principles of board agility.

F. William McNabb III, WG’83
Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vanguard; Senior Fellow, Center for Leadership and Change Management, The Wharton School

F. William McNabb III is the former chairman and chief executive officer of Vanguard. He joined Vanguard in 1986. In 2008, he became chief executive officer; in 2010, he became chairman of the board of directors and the board of trustees. He stepped down as chief executive officer at the end of 2017 and as chairman at the end of 2018. Earlier in his career, he led each of Vanguard’s client-facing business divisions.

Mr. McNabb is active in the investment management industry and served as the chairman of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors from 2013 to 2016. A board member of UnitedHealth Group and the chairman of Ernst & Young’s Independent Audit Committee, he is also chairman of the board of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia, a board member of CECP: The CEO Force for Good, and a board member of the Philadelphia School Partnership.

In addition, Mr. McNabb is the executive in residence at the Raj & Kamla Gupta Governance Institute at the Le Bow College of Business and a member of the Advisory Board of the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership at Columbia Law School. He is a member of the Wharton Leadership Advisory Board of the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management and a member of The Wharton School’s Graduate Executive Board. He also serves on the Dartmouth Athletic Advisory Board.

Mr. McNabb earned an AB at Dartmouth College and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Who Should Attend

Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era prepares executives with diverse backgrounds who aspire to join a board or wish to enhance their knowledge for ongoing board service. This program offers a wide-ranging look at what constitutes successful board service in the current climate with a focus on the fiduciary duties of directors, strategies for filling and seeking board seats, and navigating the politics of board service.

This program is ideal for:

  • Senior-level women or minority executives who aspire to board service or have recently joined a board
  • C-suite executives including general counsels, chief technology officers, chief financial officers, chief human resource officers, chief risk officers, and chief sustainability officers
  • Partner-level attorneys in law firms with experience in corporate investigations, mergers/acquisitions, and compliance
  • Leaders of major nonprofit organizations and academic institutions
  • Board members who wish to become better informed and more productive in their role
  • Members of governance and nominations committees seeking to diversify their boards
  • Corporate secretaries
  • Institutional investors

Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.


Michael Useem

Michael Useem, PhDSee 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

Mary-Hunter McDonnell

Mary-Hunter McDonnell, JD, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Organizational theory (political sociology, institutional theory); nonmarket strategy; corporate governance; corporate misconduct and punishment

Peter Cappelli

Peter Cappelli, DPhilSee Faculty Bio

George W. Taylor Professor of Management; Director, Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Human-resource practices, public policy related to employment, talent and performance management

Emile Feldman

Emilie Feldman, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Michael L. Tarnopol Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

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

Witold Henisz

Witold Henisz, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management; Director, Wharton Political Risk Lab; Founder, Wharton ESG Analytics Lab, the Wharton School

Research Interests: Political and social risk management; project management; ESG integration; stakeholder engagement

Nancy Rothbard

Nancy Rothbard, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Deputy Dean; David Pottruck Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Emotion and identity, work motivation and engagement, work-life and career development


How does a diverse board of directors help increase organizational performance?

Companies with diverse boards (in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, professional experience, and other factors) — and who work to benefit from  that diversity — have been shown to have higher than average ROI, have better than average growth, and pay higher dividends to stockholders. They can better monitor senior leaders, challenge the status quo, be more innovative, and provide more agile leadership in the face of change and disruptions. Diverse boards tend to be more aware of market trends and take steps to improve the company’s brand and overall reputation. They also tend to acknowledge a wider variety of risks and thus are more risk-averse.

How do you measure board diversity? Are there different methods that different companies use to measure it?

Diversity laws that mandate a specific number or percentage of women directors were first passed in Europe (Norway was first in 2003). By 2018, they extended to the United States: California and Illinois have diversity laws, and Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey are currently drafting them. Most of these laws, like those in Europe, focus solely on gender diversity.

Companies are also now facing pressure from institutional and activist investors, as well as social movements, to improve board diversity, but standards for measuring that diversity range widely. Most firms must define and benchmark progress toward diversity for themselves.

What are the qualities of a good board member?

A good board member should bring unique perspectives and sources of information and be willing to share them. They are honest and ethical, exercise discretion, and are cooperative with and respectful of their fellow directors. Good directors are also forward thinking, actively considering new issues to monitor that could become problematic for the firm in the future.

What skills do you need to be a board member?

Directors must be knowledgeable about and able to participate meaningfully in the duties their board is charged with. Those include making strategic decisions about mergers and acquisitions, CEO succession, executive compensation, and other high-level issues. Board members should possess strong critical thinking skills, awareness of the industry and positioning the company within it, and leadership experience. Business acumen in areas such as finance, operations, technology, and marketing is required of the board as a whole, but not every member needs expertise in each area.

What role does the board of directors play in corporate governance?

Corporate governance makes managers accountable to the best interests of their firm. The board acts as the intermediary, monitoring and guiding the firms’ senior leaders. In the United States, because shareholders typically do not own a very large block of shares in a company, the board plays a crucial role in representing those shareholders’ interests by actively working on their behalf.

How does corporate governance affect the image of the company?

Boards that actively monitor senior leadership and that maintain a level of independence can help safeguard a firm’s reputation by preventing or rectifying potentially disastrous situations. Many well-known company failures, such as Enron’s and recent #MeToo-related debacles, can be linked to failures in corporate governance.

Why is board composition important in corporate governance?

A board has to effectively decide on and implement a number of critical, diverse strategic tasks. Those include hostile takeovers, capital allocation strategy, and executive compensation and succession. To perform optimally, the board's composition must match the skill sets needed.

Date, Location, & Fees

April 6 – 14, 2022Live Online$7,80011:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT
Five days over two weeks
Week 1: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Week 2: Wednesday and Thursday

Download the program schedule, including session details and format.

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Prices are subject to change.

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