Specialist CEOs and IPO Survival

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This study examines the influence of specialist CEOs on the probability of failure and survivability of initial public offering (IPO) firms. We construct a generalist skills index based on CEOs’ past employment history in order to classify CEOs into specialist and generalist ones. Specialist CEOs pursue a career in particular functional roles, firms and industry sectors, as opposed to generalist CEOs who accumulate their work experience through various positions, firms and industries. We uncover strong evidence that IPO firms with a specialist CEO have a lower probability of failure and a longer time to survive in subsequent periods following the offering. The findings suggest that specialist managerial ability has significant implications for post-issue performance of newly listed firms. Additionally, specialist CEOs may have incentives that are more aligned with those of the firm and its shareholders; thus, they are more likely to enhance the viability of IPO firms for a longer period of time.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-243
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Early online date31 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018


  • IPOsIPO survivalSpecialist CEOsCEO's work experience


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