New bosses don’t mean much

An excellent article from WSJ:

If you took the CEOs with the best track records and brought them in to run the businesses with the worst performance, how often would those companies become more profitable? According to economist Antoinette Schoar of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, who has studied the effects of hundreds of management changes, the answer is roughly 60%. That isn’t much better than the flip of a coin.


Since the 1970s, several other studies have measured what happens when companies bring in new bosses. Most of the findings have been consistent: Changes in leadership account for roughly 10% of the variance in corporate profitability on average.


The real force in corporate performance isn’t the boss, but regression to the mean: Periods of good returns are highly likely to be followed by poor results, and vice versa. High returns attract fierce new competition, driving down future profits; low returns leave the survivors with fewer rivals, leading to better results down the road.

Most researchers agree that a company’s results are determined less by its CEO than by its industry and the economy—which, in turn, are shaped by a host of factors that most CEOs can’t control, like the price of raw materials, the value of the dollar, interest rates and inflation, bursts of technological innovation and so on.

Hat tip to Abnormal Returns.

Link to the article here.

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