Thrill-seeking pilots make for good corporate CEO’s

Washington: Thrill-seekers, like private airplane pilots, tend to make effective chief executive officers, a new research has found.

The study documents a link between the personality traits of high-flying executives and business moves such as mergers, acquisitions and accumulation of debt.

The study is co-authored by Stephen McKeon, an assistant professor of finance at the UO’s Lundquist College of Business; and Matthew Cain, an assistant professor of finance at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.

“CEOs who seek thrills in their personal lives are more likely than others to be aggressive in their corporate policies,” said co-author Stephen McKeon, an assistant professor of finance at the UO``s Lundquist College of Business.

“They also tend to be effective leaders. If anything, these CEOs execute acquisitions that are more value-creating than those completed by other executives.”

For their study, McKeon and Cain compared 179 corporate executives who held private pilots`` licenses to 2,900 non-pilot CEOs.

“We found a variety of evidence to support our hypothesis that risk-taking CEOs are associated with riskier corporate policies,” McKeon said.

That can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the company and its corporate goals and needs, he added.

The study is currently posted for peer review on the Social Science Research Network website.


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