51 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2016 Last revised: 1 Jun 2016
Date Written: February 1, 2016
We use a data set of over 2,600 executive assessments to study thirty individual characteristics of candidates for top executive positions – CEO, CFO, COO and others. Candidate characteristics can be classified by four primary factors: general ability, execution skills, charisma and strategic skills. CEO candidates tend to score higher on all four of these factors; CFO candidates score lower. Hired candidates score higher than all assessed candidates on interpersonal skills (for each job category) suggesting that such skills are important in the selection process. Scores on the four factors also predict future career progression. Non-CEO candidates who score higher on the four factors are subsequently more likely to become CEOs. The patterns are qualitatively similar for public, private equity and venture capital owned companies. We do not find economically large differences in the four factors for men and women. Women, however, are ultimately less likely to become CEOs holding the four factors constant.
Keywords: CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Managerial Characteristics, Hiring Decisions, Corporate Governance
JEL Classification: G30, J23, J24, M12, M51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Kaplan, Steven N. and Sorensen, Morten, Are CEOs Different? Characteristics of Top Managers (February 1, 2016). Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 16-27; Paris December 2016 Finance Meeting EUROFIDAI - AFFI. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2747691