Important Business History Webinar: Leading in the Long Run – Do CEOs matter?

6 03 2023

AS: there is a long-running debate among both academic and practitioners about whether, how much, and under which circumstances the personal characteristics of CEOs really matter to long-term firm performance (see here). Can business-historical research methods and data shed light on this important question? Business historian Michael Aldous seems to think they can. Here are the details of his upcoming CBHA webinar on this subject. Registration for this Zoom link is below.  

Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) have become celebrities and rock stars in popular culture. Often viewed as visionaries they are seen by some as uniquely able to unlock new ways of generating wealth and economic growth for society. Conversely, others see them as grotesquely wealthy, using their roles to enrich themselves whilst destroying political, social, and environmental systems. However they are perceived, CEOs of the largest corporations are key players in global political systems, to the extent that they have ‘displaced politics and politicians as … the new high priests and oligarchs of our system.’ This raises important questions, Who becomes a CEO? What do they actually do in the role? How do they effect the companies they lead? Answering these questions reveals insights into social mobility, meritocracy, business organization, corporate governance, and strategy. Interestingly and importantly, the answers have changed overtime. In this talk we will look at a long run study of British CEOs across the 20th century to see how these trends have evolved. This helps us to understand how CEOs matter now, but what factors may shape the profile, role, and importance of CEOs in the future.

Thursday March 30th, 2:00 pm EST

Moderator: Associate Professor Richard Powers, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.  National Academic Director, Directors Education Program and Governance Essentials Program.

Presenter: Michael Aldous, Senior Lecturer in Management at Queen’s Management School, and a Research Associate at Queen’s University Centre for Economic History.  Currently Im working on a Leverhulme Trust grant investigating British CEOs in the 20th century, examining factors such as personality traits, career progression, and networks, on firm performance.

To register for this Zoom session, click here.

Attendees will need to register to attend. All registered participants will be given Zoom login information on March 29th.



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