CEO Selection and Executive Appearance

Douglas O. Cook  and Shawn Mobbs

Survey assessments have found limited evidence of benefits of executive attractiveness. We use an objective measure of facial attractiveness that is correlated with survey assessments but less noisy and identify several benefits from executive facial attractiveness previously found in the general population but heretofore empirically elusive among executives. We examine the effect of both measures on executive compensation, promotion to CEO and the corresponding shareholder reaction, and promotion to board chair. The objective measure identifies significantly positive labor market effects for executive attractiveness in all outcomes in contrast to survey assessments of attractiveness that do not correlate with any outcome.