CEO facial structure determines performance

by Stephanie Zillman16 Nov 2012

What if you really could tell a book by its cover? Researchers have tested whether certain facial physical characteristics can predict how well a CEO will perform – and the outcome is the more ‘wide-faced’ the better.

The study was led by Elaine Wong of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, who, only looking at male leaders, determined that companies with a wide-faced male CEO at the helm enjoyed industry-adjusted returns on assets an average  $16 million higher than firms led by narrow-faced men.

Her study, aptly titled ‘A Face Only an Investor Could Love: CEOs' Facial Structure Predicts Their Firms' Financial Performance, is the first research project which has linked physical traits of leaders to heightened organisational performance. “Specifically, we found that firms whose male CEOs have wider faces (relative to facial height) achieve superior financial performance,” Wong wrote.

The research was able to link higher width-to-height ratios in men's faces to higher aggression, a greater sense of personal power, and more untrustworthiness in personal interactions.


  • by Bridget Hogg 18/11/2012 9:08:13 AM

    Is this statistically significant?

    I would be concerned that the research also found more untrustworthiness in personal interactions is linked to a wider face too (in men)!