Conference Board

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The Conference Board is a U.S.-headquartered membership organisation for business. It describes its role as providing "knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society."

According to its own website:

The Conference Board was born out of a crisis in industry in 1916. Declining public confidence in business and rising labor unrest had become severe threats to economic growth and stability.
A group of concerned business leaders, representing a variety of major industries, concluded that the time had arrived for an entirely new type of organization. Not another trade association. Not a propaganda machine. But a respected, not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that would bring leaders together to find solutions to common problems and objectively examine major issues having an impact on business and society.
The Conference Board's stature and credibility have grown far beyond what any of its founders imagined. But it has remained faithful to its original ideals and mission.

According to William Domhoff:

The Conference Board, founded in 1916 as the National Industrial Conference Board, is the oldest of the existing policy-discussion groups. It was originally a more narrowly focused organization with a primary interest within the business community itself. During the 1930's and 1940's it drifted to an extreme right-wing stance under the influence of its executive director, who often denounced other policy groups for their alleged desertion of the free-enterprise system.[1] Only with the retirement of this director in 1948 did the board move back into the mainstream and begin to assume its current role as a major voice of big business. Further change in the 1960's was symbolized by the shortening of its name to Conference Board and the election of a CED trustee as its president. By 1977, when its president was selected by President Carter to chair the Federal Reserve Board, it was one of the most central and important of the policy groups.
The Conference Board has been innovative in developing international linkages. In 1961, in conjunction with the Stanford Research Institute, the board sponsored a week-long International Industrial Conference in San Francisco. This international gathering brought together 500 leaders in industry and finance from 60 countries to hear research reports and discuss common problems. The International Industrial Conference has met every four years since that time. Along with the "sister" committees which the CED has encouraged in numerous nations, the International Industrial Conference is one of the major institutions in the international policy discussion network that has been growing slowly since the 1950's.[2]


As part of its effort to help business in the global marketplace, The Conference Board works with a wide variety of organizations around the world. Following is a partial list of these "alliances":



Latin America

North America


The Conference Board Councils

Councils are membership groups joining executives with common responsibilities and interests to share solutions to business challenges. They are designed to keep executives abreast of the latest developments in their fields and fully informed about new management strategies and tactics. Conference Board councils provide unequaled opportunities for senior executives around the world to meet regularly and share information, ideas, and insights on crucial business issues. Members are able to engage in candid, off-the-record discussions with their peers in other companies, industries, and countries.
Each council charts its own course: selecting members, setting meeting agendas, and serving the interests and needs of the group. Using a by-invitation-only process, council members are nominated and elected by peers, with the election decision based on their company affiliation and their individual achievement.
Council participation is available exclusively to member companies of The Conference Board.[3]

Corporate Citizenship

Corporate Governance

HR/Organization Issues




In 2005 it is reported that Charles Borgognoni 'a veteran public relations and public affairs professional, with over 25 years experience including public affairs and healthcare communications, and public policy' previously served the Conference Board as a member of the Board's Community and Public Issues Council[4].

Eli Lilly and Company Board Member Ellen R Marram is reported to be a Trustee of the Conference Board[5]. Marram is also President of The Barnegat Group LLC, Advisor to North Castle Partners L.L.C. (where she was formerly Managing Director 2000-2005), member of the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company, The New York Times Company and several other companies who's names are not disclosed. She also serves on the boards of The New York & Presbyterian Hospital, Lincoln Center Theater, Families and Work Institute, and Citymeals-on-Wheels. Marram's previous involvements include serving as a member of the Board of Associates of Harvard Business School, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tropicana and the Tropicana Beverage Group (1993-1998) and President and CEO of the Nabisco Biscuit Company (1987-1993). Between 1970 to 1986, she is reported to have 'held a series of marketing positions at Nabisco/Standard Brands, Johnson & Johnson and Lever Brothers.

C Ron Cheeley previous chairman of the Conference Board Research Council on Employee Benefits and on the Conference Board Executive Compensation Council, serves as a Senior Vice President with Schering-Plough. Cheeley's biography[6]. Cheeley is also a member of the Schering-Plough Foundation Board of Trustees, a member of the American Benefits Council, the National Academy of Chief Human Resources Officers and serves on the board of directors of the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. His previous involvements include serving as group vice president with the Pharmacia Corporation, as a Director for the Coca Cola Company and as chairman of the board of directors and a member of the executive committee of WorldatWork (1999-2000).

Robin Aram


New York
The Conference Board Inc.
845 Third Avenue
New York, New York 10022-6679
Tel: (212) 759 0900
Fax: (212) 980 7014

The Conference Board Europe
Chaussee de La Hulpe, 130, Box 11
B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: (32) 2 675 5405
Fax: (32) 2 675 0395
E-mail: brussels AT


  • H. M. Gitelman 'Management's Crisis of Confidence and the Origin of the National Industrial. Conference Board, 1914-1916.' Business History Review, Summer 1984, 58, p 153-177.


  1. Eakins, op.cit., chapter 5
  2. G. William Domhoff, (1979) The Powers That Be, New York: Vintage. pp. 67-9.
  3. Conference board Operations and Business Processes: Councils, accessed 30 July 2010
  4. Public Relations Society of America Ben Singer, Charles Borgognoni Join Health Academy Board Accessed 2nd January 2008
  5. Eli Lilly and Company Ellen R Marram accessed 31st January 2008
  6. Schering-Plough C Ron Cheeley Accessed 26th February 2008