John A. Davis

Faculty Director, Family Enterprise Programs, MIT Sloan School of Management Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group

Faculty Director, Family Enterprise Programs, MIT Sloan School of Management
Founder and Chairman, Cambridge Family Enterprise Group
Professor John Davis is a globally recognized 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 some of the field’s most impactful conceptual frameworks.
At the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor Davis is tracking how global forces, including certain disruptions, are shaping family enterprises. He leads MIT’s suite of family enterprise executive programs including the Future Family Enterprise program (for multigenerational family enterprises, May 5-10, 2019) and the Founder to Family program (for first generation family enterprises, July 22-26, 2019), both of which help family owners prepare for disruptions of all kinds and position their enterprises for a successful future. In the Entrepreneurship Development program (January 20-26, 2019), Professor Davis teaches entrepreneurs from business families how to address issues that arise when building an entrepreneurial venture within a family enterprise system.
Professor Davis oversees current research on a range of emerging issues such as global disruptive forces, multigenerational family wealth, succession, leadership, the Millennial generation (Generation Y), globalization, and other topics. He serves on the Advisory Council of Saïd Business School’s Inclusive Capitalism Programme on Purposeful Ownership at Oxford University, which explores how family ownership influences the purpose and performance of corporations.
Professor Davis’ extensive body of educational materials is used by graduate schools of business around the globe. He created many of the leading concepts in the field such as the Family Enterprise Sustainability Model and the Family Wealth Paths framework. With Harvard Professor Renato Tagiuri, he co-created the Three-Circle Model of the Family Business System, the fundamental paradigm in the field. He co-authored the books Generation to Generation: Life Cycles of the Family Business and Next Generation Success. His latest collection of essays—Enduring Advantage—explores the topics that he considers vital for families to understand as they lead enterprises in times of disruptive change.

A shaper of the family enterprise field, Professor Davis founded Harvard’s family business management area during his 21 years on the faculty of Harvard Business School. He was founding chair of Harvard’s Families in Business program, and taught and chaired MBA courses and executive programs on leadership, family business, family wealth, change management, and life planning. He has helped to launch and lead innovative courses and programs at business schools around the world throughout his career.
Trained in management, psychology, and economics, Professor Davis advises multigenerational family enterprises in more than 65 countries, including many of the world’s leading families. He is founder and chairman of the Cambridge Family Enterprise Group, a global advisory, education, and research organization for family enterprises.
For more information about Professor Davis’ activities and latest writing, visit and follow him on Twitter @ProfJohnDavis.