Real Future

Hot CEOs: Is Being Attractive the Key To Success?

A new study from the University of Wisconsin argues that there’s a link between attractive CEOs and a company’s stocks.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee found evidence to support the notion that being hot equals success. In their paper aptly titled, “Beauty is Wealth: CEO Appearance and Shareholder Value,” Joseph Taylor Halford and Scott H. C. Hsu analyzed the faces of CEOs from Standard & Poor’s 500 companies, rating their facial geometry to come up with their Facial Attractiveness Index.

According to the paper, the team compared “stock returns surrounding CEO television news events with stock returns surrounding a matched sample of news article events. CEOs’ Facial Attractiveness Index positively affects the stock returns on the television news date, but not around the news article date. The findings suggest that CEO appearance matters for shareholder value and provide an explanation why more attractive CEOs receive ‘beauty premiums’ in their compensation.”

According to their findings, on average:

1. Hot CEOs earned more than their less good-looking peers.


2. Stocks rose when hot CEOs started their jobs.


3. Hot CEOs negotiated better deals.


4. Stocks rose whenever the hot CEO was on TV.

To explain why appearance affects business success, John Neffinger (author of Compelling People), said, “When we see someone, we’re trying to size them up…Face shapes convey different characteristics that we value in other people. The two things we’re looking for is: are they strong and can they get things done? Can they impose their will on the world? And then, on the other hand, are they on our team? Are they friendly? Are they our kind of people?”

And, the pressure may be even greater for female CEOs.

“When you’re dealing with women in these positions, they’re automatically breaking the mold because people don’t focus on what men wear and how they’re posed on magazine covers, said Rachel Sklar, founder of The List and co-founder of Change the Ratio. “Generally speaking, there is a higher premium placed on the attractiveness of women for them to be taken seriously.”

So, if you read the list Buzzfeed published of the “13 Super-Hot People Who Happen To Be CEOs,” and wondered if the CEOs featured just happen to be hot and CEOs, or if they’re CEOs because they’re hot, this AMTonight segment is dedicated to you.

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