The Conference Board, Inc. is a non-profit global business organization supported by business executives that holds conferences, convenes executives and conducts business management research. It holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. It connects more than 1600 corporations in nearly 60 nations, its worldwide conferences attracting more than 12,000 senior executives each year. These conferences bring together authorities on a wide variety of economic and management issues. More than 150 chief executive officers address Conference Board events each year. Conference Board meetings have been independently rated as one of America’s top speaking platforms. The Conference Board also sponsors and manages more than 100 worldwide management councils, attracting senior executives from virtually every business discipline.
The main offices of the Conference Board are on Third Avenue in New York City. The Conference Board also operates offices in Brussels and Hong Kong. A similar but separate organization exists in Canada, the Conference Board of Canada.
Jon Spector is the current Chief Executive Officer, and Gail Fosler is the current President of The Conference Board. On April 1, 2008, Bart van Ark was appointed as the first non-U.S. Chief Economist in the organization's 92-year history.
The Conference Board's Board of Trustees includes prominent chief executives who lead global corporations. About half of these business leaders are based outside the U.S.
The organization was founded in 1916 as the National Industrial Conference Board.
It grew from a 1915 meeting at the Yama Farms Inn in New York consisting of presidents of 12 major corporations and six of the foremost industry associations. The gathering included Frederick P. Fish, Frank A. Vanderlip and Magnus W. Alexander, who would become the organization’s chairman and executive secretary. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss
the causes of the increasing strife between employers and their employees and the effect of the rapidly multiplying amount of restrictive labor and social legislation on the conduct of business . . . in order that a proper course of future action might be determined upon, alike beneficial to employers and employees and subservient to the welfare of the nation.
Its current mission states:
The Conference Board creates and disseminates knowledge about management and the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better serve society. Working as a global, independent membership organization in the public interest, we conduct research, convene conferences, make forecasts, assess trends, publish information and analysis, and bring executives together to learn from one another.
The organization produces Leading Economic Indicators for the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Australia. It also produces the Consumer Confidence Index, the Consumer Internet Barometer, the CEO Confidence index, the Help Wanted Advertising Index,, and other major indicators that have an impact on both business and the financial markets. It also produces a definitive source of information about worldwide institutional investment trends and is a leading source of knowledge about corporate governance, corporate performance, business ethics, corporate security, human resources management and global corporate citizenship. The Conference Board also publishes a magazine of ideas and opinion, which was called Across the Board from 1976 to 2006 and The Conference Board Review henceforth.
From the year 2002 to 2003, The Conference Board's Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise—which included 12 prominent leaders from business and other sectors of society—issued a wide-ranging series of recommendations to help restore public trust in companies, their leaders and the capital markets. Many of these recommendations have been adopted.