What Do Outside CEOs Really Do? Evidence from Plant-Level Data
52 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2020 Last revised: 20 Sep 2023
Date Written: October 8, 2022
Using rich plant-level data, we analyze the relative performance of firms with inside and outside CEOs. We show that firms with outside CEOs achieve greater productivity improvements compared to firms with inside CEOs. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the relation is stronger in well-performing, rather than poorly performing, firms. Although part of the productivity growth differential comes from divesting low-performing, peripheral, low-tech, and unionized plants, most productivity improvements arise from streamlining continuing plants. Here, productivity is increased by consolidating products, changing the composition of investments toward newer capital, shifting to more capital-intensive production, adopting structured management practices, and improving labor productivity.
Keywords: CEO Succession, Productivity, Corporate Restructuring
JEL Classification: G34
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