Monday, February 09, 2015

The Impact of High-Variety CEOs

Craig Crossland, Jinyong Zyung, Nathan J. Hiller, and Donald C. Hambrick have published an interesting new study about what they call "high-variety" CEOs.  In other words, what impact does it have on a firm when you hire a CEO with a wide variety of prior career experiences?  They found that these high-variety CEOs tended to enact more bold strategic change at the companies that hired them.   Moreover, they tended to shift the allocation of resources substantially.   They also tended to buck the conventional wisdom in their industries, creating distinctive strategies.  That's the good news.  These leaders tended to be change agents.   However, they also tended to drive a lot of churn in the executive suite.  It's not clear if that's good or bad.   Despite the churn, the high-variety CEOs did not necessarily assemble more diverse teams at the top.  Finally, what about performance?   The high-variety CEOs did not generate higher profits on average.  What did they create?  Volatility.   The high-variety CEOs tended to preside over periods of extensive fluctuations in performance. 

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