Study: If a CEO plays a lot of golf, their company isn't doing too well
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Study: If a CEO plays a lot of golf, their company isn’t doing too well

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As it turns out, if you're the CEO of a Fortune 1500 company, and you're playing a lot of golf, then your company probably isn't doing as well as it could.

That's one of the findings of a new study published in August (and revised in November) by faculty from Miami University (Ohio), the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee. The investigators sought to draw some kind of relationship between how often a CEO spends leisure time disengaged from the company and how well their company performs. The researchers chose to use golf as a proxy, digging into the USGA's GHIN handicap system to manually scrape the entries for 363 S&P 1500 CEOs covering rounds from 2008 to 2012.


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Here are some of the highlights of the paper's findings:

  • CEOs who play golf in the top quartile of frequency (22 rounds or more per year) lead companies with lower operating performance and firm values, about a 1 percent difference
  • CEOs are more likely to be replaced by boards if they are away from the office too much (like playing golf), but the longer a CEO is on the job, the more likely they are to play more golf
  • CEOs are more likely to play more golf if they don't have a strong, equity-based incentive compensation plan
  • 57 percent of the CEOs sampled are considered "core" or "avid" golfers with some CEOs logging more than 100 rounds in a year
  • 40 percent of CEOs in the sample belong to multiple clubs
  • One CEO played 146 rounds of golf in a year.

Then again, with some 90 percent of senior leaders reporting burnout in a Harvard Medical School survey, maybe golf is that important to showing up for work the rest of the time.

Via Business Insider

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