George L. Davis, Jr. leads Egon Zehnder’s Global CEO Practice and is a former leader of the firm’s Global Board Practice. For more than two decades, he has been a trusted advisor to multinational, public sector and private-equity backed organizations seeking guidance on critical boardroom issues including CEO search and succession planning, director succession planning and board effectiveness. Having helped select more than 500 board directors across a range of industries, George is an established expert on effective corporate governance and is a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Forbes and the FT\'s Agenda on issues including CEO search, leadership and succession planning, as well as board diversity and digital board leadership. He is also the publisher of the Egon Zehnder Global Board Index.
Prior to joining Egon Zehnder, George held senior management roles with The Walt Disney Company, Time Inc., and Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company.
Based in Boston, George holds a BA from Hamilton College and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. George serves as a board member of the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) New England Chapter, and as a board director at a privately held fund of funds. He also serves as Vice Chairman of the National Stroke Association and is active in several global and national civic organizations.
Most CEOs and boards name succession, both for the CEO and for business unit leaders, as their biggest strategic challenge. While this leadership challenge exists for every industry, it is particularly acute in the consumer sector, where many of the successive waves of disruption first hit.
For good or ill, activists now are important players in the investor ecology, with increasingly successful records for changing a board’s makeup. At Egon Zehnder, we identified 58 incidents of investor activism against S&P 500 companies over the last two years. Of those, 16 contests involved changes to board composition, urging a “no” vote on the management’s slate of directors or proposing, or threatening to propose, an alternative slate.
In an interview with the New England Cable News, Egon Zehnder Global CEO Practice Leader George Davis, based in Boston, provided a perspective on the job market from both the point of view of a recent college graduate and a high level CEO.
If a board of directors is well prepared, the selection of a new CEO will be the end product of a comprehensive succession and transition plan. During the transition period, the new CEO is introduced in an orderly way and is allowed to get up to speed on key issues and to forge important relationships before taking charge.
Millennials are an increasingly important part of the workforce in 2016, and companies are adapting to attract the top millennial talent. In an interview with the US broadcaster Fox Business, Egon Zehnder Global CEO Practice Leader George Davis provided his insight on how to attract and retain the top millennial talent.
There are many reasons - ranging from sudden illness to shock resignations – why companies may require an interim CEO at very short notice, reports Chief Executive Magazine. What areas should temporary leaders focus on to ensure a smooth transitional period?
Major U.S. companies are creating digital advisory panels — an informal and smaller version of a corporate board — to help them innovate online and advise management on trends in social media, big data and digital commerce.
How can CEOs get their boards to back disruptive, game-changing ideas? One strategy, notes Dale Buss in a blog post on Chief Executive, is to fill the board with flexible personalities and early adopters.
Can a board have too many committees, asks the Boston Business Journal? The answer, according to George L. Davis Jr., head of Egon Zehnder’s global board, lies in the ratio of committees to board members.
Companies need boards that are as global as their business in order to sidestep risks and seize opportunities, writes George L. Davis, Co-Leader of Egon Zehnder’s Global Board Practice, in a blog contribution for the Harvard Business Review.
Over the last decade as U.S. economic growth slowed, companies in the U.S. successfully chased and found growth opportunities overseas. A quick scan of the American boardroom, however, reveals that the board composition of these new global entities has failed to keep pace with their strategic redirection.
Everyone agrees that CEO succession planning is critical. Yet many Chairmen are concerned that their own companies are underprepared for a change of CEO – and are exposed to the risk of a damaging leadership vacuum. This is the finding of an Egon Zehnder study in which more than 50 Chairmen and CEOs of major companies headquartered in France, Germany, the UK, and the US were interviewed.
Board succession planning is straightforward and the outcomes reached through objective analysis, dialogue and debate, will ultimately yield a governance body that mirrors the needs of the business and the people it serves.
Companies with global aspirations require boards with global capability. So why don’t their boards reflect this new strategic direction? The findings of the 2014 Egon Zehnder Global Board Index™ reveal a Global Capability Gap, named by Egon Zehnder to describe the disparity between a company’s global footprint and the global experience of board members.
The need for greater international experience in boardrooms, especially in the U.S., has long been talked about, but with little real progress. Even S&P 500 boards remain very insular today. Yet the rapid globalization of markets seen over the past few decades will seem modest compared to the coming boom as new countries become top world economies.
George L. Davis, Jr.
Egon Zehnder, Global CEO Practice Leader