About Us

Helping boards be their best

At IMD, we have dedicated our thinking and resources to supporting boards for the last 35 years.

We are now going a step further. We are bringing together world-class thought leadership and best practices from around the globe to help the boards of leading organizations be their most effective.

We have created a unique combination of board education programs, board boosters and board retreats to help you lift your board's performance. Our governance research is not abstract or rules based.

It is about developing boards into the competitive advantage that the complexity of today's world requires. Thanks to our exceptional network, we can draw inspiration from the board practices of leading organizations in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

In these pages, you will find a brief overview of what we offer. But we can also customize your board education to meet your specific needs. We are committed to supporting your company's long-term success through its board performance. With us, your board can be its best and achieve its full potential.

"In a world of new business models and increasing complexity and uncertainty - social, economic, political - the challenges facing executives are not always clear-cut. Quality board thinking is now essential to ensure long-term corporate success," — Dr. Didier Cossin, 2012

Professor giving a lecture
"Board education is crucial because today's CEOs are so overstretched. They are confronted with an incredible rise in complexity - from society, governments, alternative business models, global changes, new risks and opportunities and shifts in economic conditions. Even the best executives cannot be expected to respond consistently to all these challenges."
Extract from Didier Cossin in the Financial Times. The article "Why boards are failing and why education failed boards" published on January 9, 2012.

Our legacy


In the mid-1970s trends in the relationship between business and society and abuses in compensation had a significant impact on the functioning of boards of directors, which were seen as weak.This led to new governance legislation. In 1977, IMD launched its flagship board program, focusing on the theme 'Boards in Transition'. Over three days participants discussed roles and responsibilities of boards, employee participation and the new balance of power, innovations in board practices.


Against the loosening of financial regulation, the issue framing boards became the abuses in value destruction due to a massive increase in M&A activity. The common theme was that boards needed to be more effective. HPB, with increasingly cumulative research on what made boards and individual board members perform at the highest levels, was already working with over 300 board directors to help them improve their own and their overall board's effectiveness. With the uptake of new information technology, HPB also helped boards get to grips with the opportunities and complexities of the nascent information age.


As time spent on board work increased due to an increase in governance and financial regulation, HPB looked to helping board directors balance tensions in a paradoxical world; reflecting structural tensions that constantly threatened to undermine board effectiveness. The tensions were:
1) Who is responsible for the corporations? The board or management?
2) Constituting a board to balance independence with industry knowledge
3) The board - a 'club' or a working group?


The beginning of the 21st Century was typified with corporate scandals, which led to even greater regulation and a closer look at the work of boards. Diversity, particularly gender diversity was a key issue. HPB focused on the key question of 'what is the real value of boards?' The complexity of board work and the 'art' required to making boards work, was an overarching theme.

Following the 2008 subprime and global economic crisis, the program gave a renewed emphasis to board composition and the role of shareholders, the role of the board in monitoring risk and creating strategy.


Today the program is built on four pillars that effective boards must leverage: focus, information, processes and dynamics.

A class in the 1970s. Two men discussing documents. A professor explaining a point.
IMD Global Board Center