St.Gallen Board Retreat

Engage with peers from Europe’s leading boardrooms in a trusted and intimate setting.
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Programme overview

The St.Gallen Board Retreat is a joint initiative by the University of St.Gallen and Egon Zehnder. The Retreat has been designed for Europe’s leading chairs and non-executive directors to engage in discussion and advance boardroom excellence.

We invite you to experience a novel opportunity to liaise with your peers in a trusted and intimate environment outside your own boardroom. The St.Gallen Board Retreat provides a platform carefully curated by renowned governance scholars, global leaders in board consulting and the Retreat’s high-profile Advisory Board (see below). All content is strictly tailored to the challenges facing your board. Overall, the Retreat aims at facilitating peer exchange, sparking inspiration, conveying new insights and creating a positive impact in your boardroom.

Note: If you are not yet a chair or senior board member at a large company and seek to prepare yourself for taking up your first non-executive mandate please consider the Retreat’s sister programme, the St.Gallen Board Academy.

Contact person

Learn more about the programme in a personal conversation.

Georg Guttmann 4

Prof. Dr. Georg Guttmann Director of Board Programmes

Programme details

Programme type







3 days (Fri-Sun)


Executive Campus St.Gallen, Holzstrasse 15, 9010 St.Gallen, Switzerland


CHF 9'800

Target group


Next date

Start date: 13.06.2025
places available
Start date: 12.06.2026
places available

Target audience

The St.Gallen Board Retreat is open to chairs and senior non-executive directors from large European companies with revenues typically above EUR 2 billion. The Retreat promotes the diversity of thought and experience:

  • All industries are welcome.

  • All ownership types are welcome (e.g. publicly held, private equity-owned, family-controlled).

  • The Retreat should reflect Europe’s plurality of nationalities.

  • Only one member per company board will be admitted.

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Programme benefits

Engage with peers from Europe’s most important boardrooms:

At the St.Gallen Board Retreat you will meet your peers from boardrooms across Europe to discuss, reflect on and resolve challenges facing your board. Selective admission criteria will ensure that you meet relevant peers who can offer novel perspectives on your situation.

Obtain tailored solutions that will generate a positive impact in your boardroom:

All the Retreat’s content will be tailored to the challenges facing your board. Before the programme, we will ask you for your specific priorities and expectations. Based on these inputs the St.Gallen Board Retreat will be designed to address the challenges that are most relevant to you.

Get inspired by personal experiences and hear new evidence-based insights:

Learn from the experiences of our Advisory Board Members, who will share their personal stories on how they overcame major obstacles. In addition, you will benefit from the governance expertise of leading academics and the hands-on boardroom insights of seasoned consultants.

Advisory Board

The St.Gallen Board Retreat is supported by an Advisory Board consisting of experienced chairs from large European companies. Members of the Advisory Board will act as faculty throughout the Retreat.

jill ader 2 edited

Jill Ader
Senior Advisor and Fmr. Chair
Egon Zehnder

B Dalibard 1 edited

Barbara Dalibard
Michelin SCA

dr christoph franz 3 edited

Christoph Franz
Vice Chair
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd

paul polman 1

Paul Polman
Fmr. CEO
Unilever NV

jim snabe

Jim Snabe
Siemens AG

jon symonds edited

Jon Symonds
GlaxoSmithKline plc

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Pauline van der Meer Mohr
ASM International NV

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Peter Voser


Our Advisory Board members have a strong commitment to advance boardroom leadership and effectiveness:

Simon Evenett

Simon Evenett
Professor of International Trade and Economic Development
University of St.Gallen

Karolin Frankenberger Website

Karolin Frankenberger
Professor of Executive Education
University of St.Gallen

Frank Heckner Website

Frank Heckner
Egon Zehnder

Jan Marco Leimeister Website

Jan Marco Leimeister
Professor of Information Systems
University of St.Gallen

Kati Najipoor Smith Website

Kati Najipoor-Smith
Partner and Leader of Global CEO Practice
Egon Zehnder

Winfried Ruigrok Website

Winfried Ruigrok
Professor of International Management
University of St.Gallen

Yngve Slyngstad Website

Yngve Slyngstad
Board Member
Deutsche Bank AG

Programme structure

The St.Gallen Board Retreat is a joint initiative by the University of St.Gallen and Egon Zehnder with the objective to increase board effectiveness. Using an innovative design in an intimate setting, chairs and senior board members from large companies across Europe will work together with academic thought leaders and members of our high-calibre Advisory Board in order to exchange insights and explore new board practices and solutions.

Our highly experienced Advisory Board members will share personal experiences as part of an initial inspiration stream. These experiences will be complemented by an insight stream where scholars provide novel tools and concepts to strengthen boardroom excellence. Finally, a large part of the Retreat will consist of small group discussions within the highly tailored impact stream. The impact stream will draw on participants’ collective insights and will be closely facilitated by St.Gallen’s faculty, Egon Zehnder’s board experts and the Retreat’s distinguished Advisory Board members.

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Paul Polman


«Effective governance relies on succession planning and on anticipating how new appointments will affect boardroom dynamics. Getting succession right is both fundamental and challenging.»


Paul Polman

Fmr. CEO and Board Member

Unilever N.V.

Peter Voser


«Boards need to become more mindful due to increasing regulatory demands, shareholder activism, digitisation and other mega trends. Non-executives must be both diligent watchdogs and forward-looking strategists.»

Peter Voser

dr christoph franz


«Boards should support organisations in making a difference, both in financial terms and in infusing a sense of purpose and broader societal responsibility.»


Christoph Franz
Vice Chair
Zurich Insurance Group Ltd

How to apply

Please click on the registration button on this page to apply. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis within 10 business days. After you have been admitted we will schedule a short pre-programme interview where you can indicate your priorities and preferences.

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Do you require further information?

I am gladly available for you and look forward to hearing from you.

Georg Guttmann 4

Prof. Dr. Georg Guttmann Director of Board Programmes

Why University of St.Gallen

The HSG - your partner for first-class executive education in Switzerland

At the University of St. Gallen (HSG), you can choose from one of the largest executive education portfolios in the German speaking region – the right programme for your needs and career objectives. The renowned quality and practical relevance of the learning experience convinces more than 6000 participants per year. Profit from an Executive Degree from St.Gallen – the best business school in the German-speaking world – and get ahead in your career!

  • For high-quality teaching and executive training by top researchers

  • For competent executives

  • For Lifelong Learning

  • For international collaborations

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