In 1993, discussions between the UK Benchmarking Centre, the SPI (USA), the SIQ (Sweden), the IZB (Germany) and the Benchmarking Club Italy came together to evaluate the possibility of a co-operative network. Then in 1994, after debate and agreement, the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN) was officially established by these founding members as a community of legally independent benchmarking centres, with the objective to achieve a consistent understanding of benchmarking as a management method and to promote its worldwide spread and utilisation. Dr Robert C. Camp, from the Best Practice Institute in the USA, who invented the benchmarking method, was appointed the first head of the Network.
The AGM in Madrid, Spain, in June 2001, saw the agreement to change the Officers‘ structure of the GBN. The position of President was established, with Bob Camp elected as the first President, having been the Chairman since 1994. Also, Peter Heisig, from the Information Centre Benchmarking (ICB) in Berlin, was elected Chairman, having been the Vice Chairman since 2000. At the 11th AGM in Harrogate, UK in October 2002 Tom Brock announced his retirement. As a result of this decision, both New Zealand and Germany offered to provide the future GBN Secretariat. A vote by GBN Affiliates resulted in the Secretariat moving to ICB in Berlin.
Also during the 2002 Harrogate AGM, the Affiliates agreed to remove from the Memorandum of Understanding the restrictive practice of one centre per country only and to allow as many Centres of Excellence in a country to Affiliate to the GBN, providing the existing Affiliate has no reasonable objections.