Specialist CEOs and IPO Survival

51 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017 Last revised: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Dimitrios Gounopoulos

Dimitrios Gounopoulos

University of Bath

Hang Pham

University of Essex - Essex Business School

Date Written: September 15, 2018


This study examines the influence of specialist CEOs on the probability of failure and survivability of initial public offering (IPO) firms. We construct a generalist skills index based on CEOs’ past employment history in order to classify CEOs into specialist and generalist ones. Specialist CEOs pursue a career in particular functional roles, firms and industry sectors, as opposed to generalist CEOs who accumulate their work experience through various positions, firms and industries. We uncover strong evidence that IPO firms with a specialist CEO have a lower probability of failure and a longer time to survive in subsequent periods following the offering. The findings suggest that specialist managerial ability has significant implications for post-issue performance of newly listed firms. Additionally, specialist CEOs may have incentives that are more aligned with those of the firm and its shareholders; thus, they are more likely to enhance the viability of IPO firms for a longer period of time.

Suggested Citation

Gounopoulos, Dimitrios and Pham, Hang, Specialist CEOs and IPO Survival (September 15, 2018). Journal of Corporate Finance, 48, 2018, pp 217-243 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3058056

Dimitrios Gounopoulos (Contact Author)

University of Bath ( email )

School of Management,
Wessex House, Claverton Down
Bath, BA2 7AY
United Kingdom

Hang Pham

University of Essex - Essex Business School ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

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