Does the CEO effect on performance differ in private versus public firms?

Timothy Quigley, Francesco Chirico*, Massimo Bau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Scholars have long debated the effect CEOs have on firm performance, including a focus on how their effect shifts across industries, national settings, and time. Unexplored, however, is the possibility that the CEO effect might differ in publicly traded versus privately held firms. Drawing on a unique longitudinal sample of both publicly traded and large, privately held Swedish firms from 1997–2013, we replicate and build upon prior CEO effects studies and find that private firm CEOs have a greater effect on firm performance, for good or for ill, than do their public firm counterparts. Our results are strengthened after controlling for industry, firm profitability, and size in a matched-pair sample. We discuss the implications and potential future research stemming from these findings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Organization
Early online date2 Jun 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2021


  • chief executive officers
  • decision making
  • firm performance
  • ownership structure
  • panel data methods
  • research methods
  • topics and perspectives


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