Which CEO Characteristics and Abilities Matter?
Steven N. Kaplan
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
Mark M. Klebanov
University of Chicago - Graduate School of Business (GSB)
Copenhagen Business School; Columbia Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Swedish Institute for Financial Research (SIFR)
NBER Working Paper No. w14195
We study the characteristics and abilities of CEO candidates for companies involved in buyout (LBO) and venture capital (VC) transactions and relate them to hiring decisions, investment decisions, and company performance. Candidates are assessed on more than thirty individual abilities. The abilities are highly correlated; a factor analysis suggests there are two primary factors with intuitive characterizations -- one for general ability and one that contrasts team-related, interpersonal skills with execution skills. Both LBO and VC firms are more likely to hire and invest in CEOs with greater general abilities, both execution- and team-related. Success, however, is more strongly related to execution skills than to team-related skills. Success is, at best, only marginally related to incumbency, holding observable talent and ability constant.
Date posted: August 4, 2008
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