John Davis

Pioneer and authority in family enterprise, family wealth and family office

Professor John Davis is a globally recognised pioneer and authority on family enterprise, family wealth, and the family office. Since the 1970s, he has been a leading researcher, author, advisor, and speaker on family enterprise, and is the creator of many of the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks. His current focus is on how several macro forces are shaping the world for family-owned enterprises in today’s new global disorder.

A renowned academic and shaper of the family enterprise field, Professor Davis leads the family enterprise programs at the MIT Sloan School of Management where he teaches strategies for family business and family office longevity. His accelerator programs offer families a week-long transformational experience to get into position for the future and plan for the trajectory of their family enterprise.


Trained in management, psychology, and economics, he advises multigenerational family enterprises in more than 70 countries. He is the founder and chairman of Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global advisory, education, and research organisation for family enterprises.


Professor Davis has also written significant works explaining family enterprise dynamics and success. With HBS Professor Renato Tagiuri, he co-created the Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System, the fundamental paradigm in the field. He also co-authored various books including Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business, Next Generation Success, and Enduring Advantage.


Achieving Multigenerational Success

  • Ingredients at the heart of multigenerational family and business longevity, and how to put them into practice
  • Results from Professor Davis’ multi-year study on how successful families survive for generations
  • Why successful family businesses outperform the rest

Life Cycle of the Family Business System

  • Inside the family business over time: the stages, challenges, and strategies at each phase
  • Business, Family, and Ownership: How these three dimensions change over time
  • How to prepare for what lies ahead in the next stage of your family business

Governance of the Family Business System

    • High-performing boards for family companies: the role, duties, composition, and agendas
    • How to create or strengthen your family governance system: family council, family assembly, and family protocol
    • The relationships between governance forums in the business, family, and owners: How they interrelate and coordinate together to be effective


    The Owners’ Mindset in a VUCA World

    • Trends and macro forces that are shaping the world around us and impacting businesses and families
    • Understanding change and disruption from the owners’ perspective
    • How family business owners need to shift their mindset and business practices to innovate and adapt in today’s environment