CEOs with uncommon names tend to implement unconventional strategies

HOUSTON – (Sept. 8, 2020) – If you’re looking for an unconventional approach to doing business, select a CEO with an uncommon name, according to new research co-authored by an expert at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business.

“Using 19 years of data on 1,172 public firms, we show that firms’ distinctive strategies are systematically linked to their CEOs’ uncommon names,” wrote co-authors Yan Anthea Zhang, the Fayez Sarofim Vanguard Professor of Strategy at the Jones School, and Yungu Kang and David H. Zhu of Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

Past studies have examined how organizational outcomes are associated with leadership personalities, values, experiences and demographic characteristics, but not CEO’s names — “one of the most fundamental attributes,” the authors argue. A person’s name influences their behavior, cognition and sense of self, according to the paper.

“Studies suggest that individuals with uncommon names tend to have

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