Mendoza School of Business

Daredevil CEOs may put their companies at risk

Published: February 8, 2012 / Author: Ben Berkowitz

The following is an excerpt from an article in Reuters that discusses Finance Professor Matt Cain’s research on the kind of risk-seeking behavior that motivates certain people to fly personal aircraft may also make them effective corporate leaders. To read the entire article visit: Daredevil CEOs may put their companies at risk

The death of Micron Chief Executive Steve Appleton in the crash of an experimental plane is raising fresh questions about what a company should disclose to investors when a senior executive has a high-risk hobby.

Daredevil CEOs may put their companies at riskThere are plenty of corporate chieftains who indulge in risky pastimes. Oracle Inc CEO Larry Ellison, a sailor and pilot whose adventures are part of his Silicon Valley mystique, competed in the storm-plagued 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Six men died and nearly two-thirds of the boats in the race did not finish.

Other CEOs engage in physical pursuits that might be considered dangerous for anyone, let alone the head of a major corporation.

US Airways Group Inc Chief Executive Doug Parker has run with the bulls in Pamplona. Google Inc CEO Larry Page kiteboards. Virgin Group mogul Sir Richard Branson has attempted to set a number of world records including trying to circle the planet in a hot-air balloon.

Appleton was a well-known daredevil who performed stunts at air shows when he wasn’t scuba diving, surfing or racing off-road vehicles — all while running a $7.85 billion enterprise that employs more than 26,000 people.


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