Leaders Coming Together

The Alliance of Chief Executives was founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, arguably the most innovative and diverse region in the world. The Internet and globalization were beginning to change the world in unprecedented ways and our initial member CEOs wanted to learn how other leaders were leveraging these forces of innovation. We believe that bringing leaders with diverse talents and expertise together enables us to learn faster and results in the discovery of innovative new strategies and opportunities.

The first Alliance members we brought together led companies ranging from steel, chemicals and agriculture to biotech, enterprise software and semiconductors. Today, the Alliance brings leaders from around the globe who lead companies ranging from small, private companies to global public enterprises in virtually every industry and market sector.

The Alliance creates very private, high-level, confidential environments for members to have strategic conversations that typically wouldn't, or simply couldn't, take place anywhere else. Technologies and markets are rapidly converging on a global basis and the pace of change is accelerating at exponential rates forcing all leaders to continually learn and adapt faster. Although no leader has time to waste, we’ve found that deep, trusted relationships among leaders whom you trust and respect are becoming critically important.

Our Philosophy

We believe that every leader who has valuable experience and a genuine willingness to help other leaders should be part of the Alliance community. We do not judge people by their balance sheets, but by the experience, wisdom, integrity and creativity they can share with fellow leaders. It is critical that members develop respect and trust to enable frank discussions on very sensitive issues so we meet personally with each individual to determine their fit prior to extending an invitation to join the Alliance. We carefully craft each Alliance Group with a focus on the following values:

  • Our diversity provides access to executives who have already been there and done that on virtually every challenge or opportunity that a CEO may face. Diversity allows groups to conceptualize problems in novel ways that create innovative solutions and fresh ideas. Our members include men and women ranging in age from their twenties to their seventies who grew up in over 60 countries around the world.
  • Our independence ensures that ideas offered by members will be unbiased. Independence enables frank, candid discussions on the most sensitive and confidential issues. CEOs find it difficult to find peers with whom they can talk openly and candidly and are not their investors, board members, employees, competitors or paid consultants.

Alliance CEO Groups

Alliance members are invited into a group of chief executives who fit together and value the experience other members are able to offer. Alliance Groups are led by experienced Alliance Directors and meet in confidential sessions where they use a unique Alliance methodology to:

  • Learn from the collective experience;
  • Gain a deeper understanding of fast-changing technology and market trends;
  • Discover new opportunities and fresh perspectives for future strategic initiatives.

Top Team Alliance™ Groups

Alliance member CEOs asked us to help develop the personal leadership skills of their senior executive team members and to enable them to address their most difficult challenges in the same way that we help our member CEOs. Therefore, the Alliance developed Top Team Alliance™ groups which include a diverse mix of CFOs, COOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs and other top marketing, sales, operations, legal and product development executives. Our Top Team Alliance™ groups share valuable experience and information to tackle their own real world issues and opportunities just like CEOs. Participants receive the equivalent of high-level executive education by listening to and interacting with other industry leaders.

Alliance Community

The collective wisdom and experience within the Alliance community of members is truly extraordinary. Members are able to make powerful connections with other CEOs who have experience dealing with similar critical issues or market opportunities. These strategic connections typically result from Alliance members and Directors proactively helping each other. In addition, the Alliance creates a variety of ways for Alliance members to connect with other top executives who have the exact experience or knowledge they need.

Membership Principles

The Alliance of Chief Executives brings leaders together in safe, confidential environments where they can discuss their most challenging strategic issues and opportunities. Members come together with the understanding that in exchange for their willingness to share their personal experience and knowledge, they gain access to the collective experience and wisdom of CEOs from virtually every industry and market sector. To maximize the power of each of our private Alliance Groups, members agree by joining the Alliance to adhere to the following principles:

Alliance members agree that information divulged during private Alliance Group meetings shall be treated as confidential. Although we do not generally engage in discussions regarding, or ask members to share, highly confidential information (such as trade secrets, proprietary information, or information subject to a non-disclosure agreement), we do discuss business strategies and other issues that may be sensitive in nature. Members must use their own judgment and discretion in determining what information they choose to disclose. However, Alliance members typically feel comfortable in discussing their most challenging strategic issues because of the mutual understanding that members will honor the confidentiality of the information discussed in their private Alliance Group.

Alliance members gain the most value from the collective experience and wisdom of their fellow members when they discuss their most difficult strategic issues or most exciting opportunities. The most valuable ideas emerge when discussing major initiatives or significant challenges. The time our CEOs spend together is too valuable to waste on day-to-day tactical or routine operational issues.

Alliance members agree not to trade in the securities of any public companies with which any of the other members in their private Alliance Group are associated.

Alliance members understand that it is not appropriate to use their Alliance membership to solicit the business of other Alliance members. It is acceptable, however, for Alliance members to buy products or services from other Alliance members if they choose to do so.

Alliance members understand that the Alliance is not in the business of offering specific advice or recommendations. Alliance members make their own decisions and are not required or under any obligation to follow any recommendations of any representative or member of the Alliance. Therefore, neither the Alliance nor any of its agents, employees or other members shall be liable to an Alliance member for any advice, information or recommendations that such member may receive.

We encourage all members to get to know the other members in their private Alliance Group. Each Alliance Group becomes a powerful team of executives when each member's objectives, strategies and personal values are well understood by the other members in the group. Alliance members come together with a philosophy which encourages each of us to ask "how can we help one another" to clarify and achieve our visions and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get a better understanding of the Alliance of Chief Executives

The Alliance of Chief Executives is a global leadership and strategy community that was founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay Area, arguably one of the most impactful centers of global innovation. Today, the Alliance community includes leaders from all over the world who run companies in virtually every industry. As a result, the Alliance culture, structure and members are quite different from other organizations founded anywhere else. Our members believe they can change the world – and do!

The first members who joined the Alliance in 1996 created a unique culture where leaders can come together in very confidential, “safe” environments and discuss their most sensitive issues. By enabling our members to access others through a variety of roundtables, dinners and other “behind-the-scenes” connections, a culture of “willingness to help” was established.

The diversity of the Alliance is truly extraordinary and is “by design.” Most all breakthrough ideas come from outside of one’s own industry circles, so the Alliance includes executives who lead companies ranging from small private companies to global multi-billion-dollar enterprises. They come from all backgrounds and the pool of collective wisdom and experience is extremely deep.

Although every leader has important things that have to get done, they participate in the Alliance because they understand they must challenge their basic assumptions, explore new strategies, be exposed to new ideas, and observe how other executives approach similar challenges and opportunities. The average time our members spend participating in the Alliance is about 40 hours per year … less than 2% of their working hours. Alliance members believe the time invested to engage with fellow CEOs is some of their most valuable time. Listen to Alliance members discuss how they justify the time invested in the Alliance.

Although we certainly like all of our members to attend as often as possible, no Alliance member is able to attend all of their private group meetings. They are all busy executives with critical conflicts that simply can’t be avoided.

The Alliance structure was designed to provide the opportunity for executives to engage in the most intense and confidential conversations that they really can’t do anywhere else. The optimum size for such intimate and deep brainstorming sessions are between five to ten participants – 8 is about perfect. The average Alliance member is able to attend about 2/3rd’s of the time. Therefore, Alliance groups include about twelve members so: a) the actual meeting is the optimum size; and b) no member needs to “feel guilty” if they must miss a meeting. We’re all very busy.

Hear Alliance members share some of the unexpected benefits they've received.

Although every member is quite unique, we’re confident that you will find other members in the same industry or market sector … or with similar business models or structure … or who share similar personal characteristics. The Alliance’s extraordinarily diverse community includes leaders ranging from “twenty-somethings” to “seventy-somethings” and who were born in over 70 different countries!

Members of the Alliance have grown up in countries such as: Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Cuba, Czech, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad, United States, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia and Zimbabwe

One of the founding principles of the Alliance was the value of “diversity.” Founder Paul Witkay was in a group of healthcare CEOs in the ‘90s and, although he loved the individuals in the group, he found that they all thought like “healthcare CEOs.” They all had the same set of assumptions about what would and wouldn’t work. Paul, however, came from outside of the healthcare industry and believes that most breakthrough ideas are generated by connecting ideas from other industries who have different business models, different ways of doing things and simply “think differently.” Although Alliance members constantly learn ways to improve, the big “aha moments” come when they identify an entirely fresh new approach that can make a major difference in their businesses and sometimes even their industry.

Although the core of the Alliance is our private groups which provide deeply intimate and strategic discussions, we provide many ways for members to meet other global leaders throughout our community in a variety of industry roundtables, topic roundtables, and other activities. Because the Alliance fosters deep relationships, we don’t believe you’ll find more effective networking anywhere else. Listen to Alliance members share some of the reasons why they joined.

If the Alliance is not the right “fit” for you for any reason – don’t join. We have no “long-term contracts” with any member, and we certainly do not want to waste a minute of any busy leader’s time. If you join and if it ever stops working for you, you are free to leave at any time. We have members who have participated for over twenty years, but we don’t want anyone to participate who doesn’t receive significant value.

Candidates must be in qualified leadership positions when they are invited to become members of the Alliance. However, these days, very few leaders stay with the same company forever. The members in a great Alliance group build valuable relationships with other leaders whom they respect and trust and we don’t believe that these deep relationships should be taken lightly. Therefore, Alliance members are not automatically asked to leave the Alliance if they leave their current companies. If they still value the group (and vice versa), Alliance members are more than welcome to stay.

In fact, if they are “in transition” and don’t have a new company to lead at that time, our members are invited to attend our Alliance “Executives in Transition” Roundtable group which meets on a monthly basis at no additional charge.

While the Alliance has roots in the San Francisco Bay Area since our founding in 1996, our members lead organizations worldwide, do business in well over 140 countries around the world, and grew up in over 70 different countries. With diversity of perspective, experience and insight, as well as geographic location, our members are able to generate fresh ideas and valuable connections that propel innovation, growth, and solutions to the real-world challenges and opportunities leaders face today. In addition, the Alliance has partnerships with other leadership organizations across North America, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, offering extended connections and opportunities.

If you’re interested in the Alliance, simply call or email us and we’ll be happy to talk with you. We meet personally with every candidate for membership prior to inviting them to join the Alliance for two reasons:

a) We build deep relationships with our members and that requires that we actually get to know you; and

b) We “craft” each of our private Alliance Groups to create a powerful group of individual leaders who will respect and trust one another while bringing a diverse range of experience and skills to the group. To properly “fit” you into an Alliance Group, we want to learn not only about your company, but also your personal background and future ambitions as well.

First, no one really understands how powerful the Alliance can be until they experience it for themselves. Therefore, we do not charge anyone until they have attended their first meeting with their private Alliance group and we have confirmed that they are a good “fit.”

In addition, the Alliance does not require "long-term contracts” with any of our members. Although we have many members who have been participating since our founding in 1996, we do not want anyone to waste their valuable time if, for any reason, it’s not working for them. Our members can leave at any time by just letting us know.

If you are a fit for the Alliance, the cost of membership includes a one-time enrollment fee of $750 and annual dues that range from $9,500 to $10,000 depending on the type of Alliance Group. We also provide monthly and quarterly payment options for those members who prefer to pay on an on-going basis. We hate “nickel & diming” so our membership dues cover everything from our private Alliance groups … to our Alliance roundtables … and other “behind-the-scenes” Alliance Connections.

Alliance Directors are highly experienced executives who are interested in leading one or more of our Alliance Groups. Directors not only bring a wealth of experience and wisdom but are able to challenge and support members to achieve more than they thought possible. If you would like to learn more about the opportunity to join our extraordinary team of Alliance Directors, please contact Paul Witkay at (925) 942-2403 or at info@allianceofceos.com.