Passing the Mic: Career and Firm Outcomes of Executive Interactions
54 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2021 Last revised: 18 Dec 2022
Date Written: November 1, 2022
We exploit a unique feature of conference calls to study one type of interaction among executives — directly inviting colleagues to respond to analysts’ questions. We find that the frequency of initiating interaction is positively associated with an executive’s ability, but not associated with firm performance. When new CEOs initiate more interactions than their predecessors, interaction among the rest of the executive team also increases, suggesting a learning effect. Turning to the outcomes of this practice, we find that executives who initiate more interactions than their peers are twice as likely as the average executive to be promoted to CEO. What is more, appointing CEOs who initiate more interactions than their predecessors results in an average three-day abnormal return of 0.9% around the announcement of the appointment. Teams composed of executives who interact with each other more frequently also have greater retention. Lastly, firms in which new CEOs initiate more interactions than their predecessors experience higher growth in Tobin’s Q, a result that is concentrated among growth and R&D-intensive firms.
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