Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals

Are CEOs Born Leaders? Lessons from Traits of a Million Individuals

Renee Adams, Matti Keloharju, Samuli Knüpfer

Series number :

Serial Number: 
478/2016

Date posted :

September 01 2016

Last revised :

September 05 2016
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Keywords

  • CEO • 
  • cognitive ability • 
  • non-cognitive ability • 
  • height • 
  • Compensation • 
  • firm size
What makes a CEO? Our study combines a near-exhaustive sample of CEOs of Swedish companies with data on their cognitive and non-cognitive ability and height at age 18. On average, CEOs, particularly large-company CEOs, have much higher trait values than the population and somewhat higher values than people in other high-skill professions.
Yet, more than one hundred managers and executives in the corporate sector dominate each median largecompany CEO. Only about one tenth of the pay premium large-firm CEOs enjoy over the population can be attributed to the labor market returns to the three traits.

Authors

Real name: 
Fellow, Research Member
UNSW Business School, University of New South Wales
Real name: 
Matti Keloharju
Real name: 
Samuli Knüpfer