Do General Managerial Skills Spur Innovation?

Do General Managerial Skills Spur Innovation?

Claudia Custodio Arizona State University – W. P. Carey School of Business

Miguel A. Ferreira Nova School of Business and Economics; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Pedro P. Matos University of Virginia – Darden School of Business; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

July 4, 2013

We show that firms with chief executive officers (CEOs) that gather general managerial skills during their lifetime work experience produce more innovation. Firms with generalist CEOs invest more in R&D and produce more patents than those with specialist CEOs. Generalist CEOs also create more diverse and original patent portfolios. We address the potential endogenous CEO-firm matching bias using firm fixed effects and the variation on the enforceability of non-competing agreements across states and time as an instrument for general managerial skills. Our findings suggest that generalist CEOs spur innovation because they have skills that can be applied elsewhere should risky innovation projects fail. We conclude that an efficient labor market for executives can promote corporate innovation by acting as mechanism of tolerance for failure.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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