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The Climb to 65 and Beyond

Bob Nourse, founder of TEC/Vistage
For 65 years, Vistage has helped CEOs, business owners and key executives reach new levels of success and leadership development.

Evolving to meet the needs
of high-integrity leaders since 1957

Robert “Bob” Nourse’s mission, when he founded Vistage, was to “help solve each other’s problems.”

That mission has led to what is now Vistage’s unwavering purpose: To help high-integrity leaders make great decisions that benefit their companies, families and communities.

How? By bringing together CEOs and business owners from non-competitive companies to candidly and confidentially discuss their challenges and opportunities. By sitting down with a seasoned executive with a track record of success who facilitates the conversation. By calling in subject matter experts on relevant, timely topics for fresh perspectives and deeper understanding.

Those components remain the core of the Visage model. Over the years, we’ve innovated to meet the changing needs of leaders, so they have the programs, resources and connections to make better decisions and drive better results.

October marks the 65th anniversary of Vistage Worldwide, which started as The Executive Committee (TEC) when Nourse founded the organization in 1957.

As we look back, we first celebrate the 100,000+ members — the CEOs, business owners and executives — who have shared their perspectives, challenges and solutions for the betterment of their peers. We honor the Chairs who have guided members along their journeys. And we applaud those visionaries who laid the groundwork to create the best platform for high-integrity leaders to learn across 26 countries.


Over the years, we’ve continually evolved to meet the changing needs of leaders through:

  • Global perspectives: Expanding around the world to bring more fresh perspectives to our community.
  • World-class insights: Getting a pulse on the biggest challenges CEOs face and helping them uncover solutions through research like the Vistage CEO Confidence Index and exclusive engagements with high-level thought leaders.
  • Powerful peer connections: Creating forums for connection and real-time problem-solving, including in-person events and online Networks.
  • Leadership development: Establishing programs that help CEOs develop the leaders they depend on to achieve their goals and retain A-players.
  • Impactful partnerships: Building partnerships that give CEOs an influential voice in the policies that impact small and midsize businesses.
“Now, let’s get down to work.”
Bob Nourse (bottom, second from left) Chairs the very first peer advisory group in October 1957.

After his family business failed, Bob Nourse wondered what might have happened if he were able to tap into the expertise and objective advice of his peers. That sparked an idea.

On October 25, 1957, he assembled several Milwaukee-area executives to help each other solve their business challenges. He made sure they came from non-competing industries, and he kept conversations confidential. He also brought in subject matter experts to share their insights.

He called the group The Executive Committee (TEC). The name would later become Vistage, but retain the core elements of those first meetings.

Expanding to the West Coast

The organization expands from the Midwest, bringing executive coaching and peer advisory to the West Coast. Chair Fred Chaney launches the first group in California to help guide CEOs through their leadership journey.

Fred still Chairs to this day.

Fred Chaney (second from left) Chairs the first California peer group.
Growing internationally to bring in fresh perspectives

Global expansion begins with the launch in Canada. Dr. W Lynn Tanner became the company’s first international licensee after Tanner attends a meeting in the U.S. and realizes the benefit of the peer advisory format on executives.

That same year, Australia welcomes its first peer advisory group, triggering an expansion that would bring the organization to 26 countries across 6 continents and provide high-integrity leaders with access to unprecedented resources.

1,000 Members
100 Chairs
Developing the leaders that CEOs depend on

Recognizing an opportunity to help CEOs improve execution and reach their goals faster, the Key Executive Program is introduced. In this program, the CEO’s direct reports develop the skills and competencies to support the organization’s strategy and vision.

Since then, leadership development programs have expanded to address all levels of management, including the CEO’s senior leaders (Vistage Inside), experienced managers and team leads (Advancing Leader) and highpotential individual contributors (Emerging Leader).

10,000 Members
Helping SMB leaders make decisions through data-driven research

The goal of helping CEOs solve their biggest challenges leads to the release of the first Vistage CEO Confidence Index. This quarterly report captures CEO sentiment on the economy, hiring, investment and profitability. The Index has since become a proven predictor of GDP two quarters in advance.

Our surveys now provide the platform for Vistage Research, which has evolved into original analyses, curated subjectmatter expertise and actionable insights to help leaders navigate hurdles. The Wall Street Journal also relies on Vistage survey findings.

500 Chairs
20,000 Members
Vistage events create peer-to-peer connections and provide expert insights

Vistage launches its first-ever series of regional events to bring members together for a full day of learning that included discussions, keynote speakers and workshops.

Now called Vistage Executive Summits, the events provide curated and original data and insights, leadership speakers and opportunities for members to network and grow their connections. Vistage has also expanded to include virtual National CEO Conferences, focusing on topics including Women in Leadership and People and Culture.

Connecting peers globally for real-time problem-solving

Vistage Networks brings together a global community and provides them with a platform where they can connect, access real-time answers to challenges and leverage the power of peers. Vistage Networks has grown to 14,000+ members worldwide in 31 Networks.

1,000 Chairs
Transforming businesses through Vistage-Stanford partnership

Vistage partners with the Stanford Graduate School of Business to create the Vistage Executive Leadership Program, a once-in-a-lifetime executive education opportunity for leaders to accelerate and innovate their businesses. Vistage members benefit from the thought leadership of Stanford faculty combined with the real-life application of Vistage peer advisory.

Elevating members into a national voice for SMBs

Vistage forges a strategic partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the leading advocacy group for business on Capitol Hill. Members have the opportunity to directly connect with the very experts shaping policies that affect small and midsize businesses and share their perspectives.

28,000 Members
Bringing acclaimed thought leaders to Vistage

Vistage unveils the Peak Performer series to bring the most trusted experts to its community. Speakers like Patrick Lencioni, Simon Sinek, Indra Nooyi and Alan Mulally provide exceptional insights, key takeaways and best practices to help members navigate new challenges and opportunities.

Patrick Lencioni


Vistage continues to support the small and midsize companies that drive the world’s economies, staying committed, focused and motivated on bringing executives together so they can talk, learn and grow.

Members and Chairs continue to work together to stay ahead of the curve, adapting to the ever-changing pace of business and navigating the rough terrain toward the summits that await.

And together, we continue to be the world’s most trusted resource for CEOs, business owners and key executives of small and midsize businesses, helping them become better leaders, make better decisions and drive better results. With Bob Nourse’s vision as our North Star, untapped markets yet to explore and 65 years of momentum propelling us forward, the future is bright for our community. The potential is unlimited.

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