George L. Davis, Jr.


consultant name

George L. Davis, Jr. Egon Zehnder, Global CEO Practice Leader


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.

News and Publications

Comfort with Paradox

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.

The Wall Street Journal – George L. Davis – Retaining Ex-CEOs Is “Usually a Recipe for Friction”

It is unusual for large US companies to hang onto former CEOs and it can create potential pitfalls, write Joann S. Lublin and Julie Jargon in The Wall Street Journal.

Succession Planning is Your Best Defense Against Activism

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.

Hunt Scanlon – Good Succession Planning is ‘Always Turned On’

Companies relying on more advanced forms of CEO assessment may see significant gains as high — as 80 percent in market cap alone, according to new research.

NECN – George Davis on Workplace Trends in 2016

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.

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Agenda – Six-Point Plan to Support New CEOs

Even when new CEOs are appointed thanks to well-crafted succession plans, their first few months on the job can be tough, warns George Davis, Leader of Egon Zehnder’s Global CEO Practice.

Boards Need Plan for New Chief Executives’ First 100 Days

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.

Fox Business – George Davis on the Shifting Nature of the Workforce in 2016

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.

The Wall Street Journal – Independent Boards Offer CEOs Lower Pay

What does chief executives pay depend on, asks The Wall Street Journal? The crucial factor is the board chairman, reports the US financial daily.

CNBC – Corner Office Trends Changing Fast: George Davis on the 2016 CEO

On Squawk Box, George Davis, Egon Zehnder's Global CEO Practice Leader, provides a look at what it takes to get and keep the top job at a company.

The Boston Globe – Are Some Directors “Overboarding”?

With Sarbanes-Oxley increasing the responsibilities shouldered by today’s directors, do some individuals have a seat on too many US boards, asks The Boston Globe?

Chief Executive Magazine – Helping Interim CEOs to Hit the Ground Running

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?

The Wall Street Journal - The Growth of Digital Advisory Boards

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.

Chief Executive Magazine - The Challenges of Building a Flexible Board

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.

Boston Business Journal - Can Committees Lead to Board Burn-Out?

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.

Harvard Business Review Blog Network - Boards Need to Go Global

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.

The Wall Street Journal - US Boards Lack Global Insights

While major US companies increasingly rely on overseas revenue, their boards often remain all-American, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing Egon Zehnder’s recently published Global Board Index.

Mind ‘The Global Capability Gap’

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.

CEO Succession Study “We should have started earlier”

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.

It’s time for Boards to practice what they preach - Image

It’s time for Boards to practice what they preach

When it comes to planning for their own succession, boards neglect to apply all that they have learned regarding CEO succession. Why?

CIOs Can Avoid Being DOA in the Boardroom

CIOs need to prove they can bring more than narrow technology expertise to the table if they want to land a seat in the boardroom.

The Next Stage of Globalization

The Convergence of Corporate Governance Practices.

Time for Self-Reflection and Pragmatism in the Boardroom

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.

CIOs in the Boardroom: Don’t Be a ‘One-Note Piano’

We once heard a board chairman call a CIO serving on his board a “one-note piano,” because the CIO repeated his same theme over and over.

Global Board Index™ 2014

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.

CEO Practice Practice Profile

To appoint the right leader for the future, a CEO search must analyze not just an individual’s potential but also the momentum of the company.

Global Boardroom Talent: The New “Must Have”

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.

consultant name

George L. Davis, Jr. Egon Zehnder, Global CEO Practice Leader


George L. Davis, Jr.

Tel +1 617 535 3500

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