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Bower Forum

This two-day workshop is a unique platform for a small group of CEOs or Chairpersons to discuss goals, challenges, and role-specific issues, while counseling and learning from one another.
Bower Forum
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How do you train to be a CEO? “By being a CEO,” said McKinsey’s Marvin Bower (1933-1995). The Bower Forum provides a unique opportunity for chief executives to engage with their peers in a confidential setting.

This unique two-day workshop convenes a small, exclusive cohort (4-5) of chief executives or Chairpersons with experts, and senior McKinsey partners to discuss challenges specific to their role, and have deep-dive discussions on priority topics. This can include but are not limited to: Transforming the top team, managing stakeholders, strengthening governance, and building a legacy for the organization.

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What participants say

“The opportunity to learn from peers and a seasoned CEO in such an intimate setting is truly unique.”

“Excellent program to share and gain insights from peers, with concrete counseling on potential areas of concern.”

“Candid feedback to the point we could let our guard down and address the real problem.”

Program details

We offer different types of Bower Forum programs to address the specific situation and context of individual leaders.

For CEOs

This program is for new or experienced CEOs and is co-hosted by an former recognized CEO and/or chairperson and a McKinsey Senior Partner(s) with a strong background in leadership development. Discussions include topics like your mandate as a CEO, how to build an effective top team, how to effectively collaborate with your board or your personal growth as a CEO. Like in all Bower Forums the Agenda is tailored to the need of the individual leaders.

For CEOs of Family-Owned Businesses

This program exclusively targets CEOs or Chairpersons of family-owned businesses (professional or family member) to discuss dynamics, challenges, and opportunities specific to their situation. Discussions include topics like skills and capabilities required to address and manage different generations, how to enable effective succession planning and to ensure the right governance.

For Chairpersons

This program is for chairmen and chairwomen only and is co-hosted by an experienced chairperson and a McKinsey Senior Director(s) who lead our work in the boards/governance area. Discussions include topics like clarification of the mandate between the board and management, how to effectively collaborate with your CEO, how to effectively lead your board team and personal growth aspirations.

Special topics

Additionally, the Bower Forum offers Deep Dive programs for past Bower Forum participants, specific programs for BU CEOs as well as regional variations in specific languages (e.g., in Spanish or Chinese).

Distinctive features

A practical approach to real-world scenarios and intimate peer discussions is the hallmark of the Bower Forum.

Peer-to-peer learning

Small groups allow candid exchanges in a confidential and relevant setting between peers to target critical issues.

Real-world curriculum

Problem solve around your challenges and develop clear guidance that you can apply immediately.

Leadership development

McKinsey experts and global faculty offer practical guidance on your priority topics.

Exclusive alumni network

Bower Forum participants are invited to join an exclusive alumni network that regularly brings together participants from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, thus creating a powerful global group of peers.

Related insights

Article - McKinsey Quarterly

How new CEOs can boost their odds of success

– A data-driven look at the link between the strategic moves of new CEOs and the performance of their companies highlights the importance of quick action and of adopting an outsider’s perspective.


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