CEOs Who Fly Planes Do Better at the Job

Author: Frederick Allen

 They like to take risks, but they like to take risks wisely, and that makes them effective corporate leaders, say Professors Matthew Cain of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and Stephen McKeon of the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. The two conducted a study of 179 chief executives who were pilots and 2,900 who were not pilots, and they’ve just published their findings in a paper titled “Cleared for Takeoff? CEO Personal Risk-Taking and Corporate Policies.”

Cain says:

CEO pilot-led firms are more likely to engage in mergers and acquisitions, have more debt in their capital structure – meaning higher leverage and greater overall stock return volatility. Thus, thrill-seeking CEOs bring a certain element of this personality trait into the executive suite, as reflected by more aggressive corporate policies.

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