Study Finds Companies Benefit from CEOs with Military Past

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 17, 2006 | Go to article overview

Study Finds Companies Benefit from CEOs with Military Past


Chief executive officers who served time in the military may get better results for their companies and are lasting longer in their jobs than those who didn't, a study by the world's largest executive- recruiting firm suggests.

Fifty-nine companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 led by former military people outperformed the index over one-, three-, five- and 10-year periods by 3 to 20 percentage points each year on average, according to the study released today by Korn/Ferry International.

Ex-military chief executives also lasted longer in their positions, serving an average of 7.2 years compared with 4.5 years for S&P 500 chief executives, the study says.

"I don't think it's too surprising if you really think about it," said Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and head of the CEO practice at Korn/Ferry, who didn't serve in the military. "These executives learned a number of things that have stood them well in their current roles."

Griesedieck said the study doesn't suggest people without military careers aren't necessarily good CEOs. "But there is a clear trend here," he said.

Korn/Ferry interviewed four CEOs with military experience, including Rockwell Collins Inc.'s Clayton Jones, a former Air Force fighter pilot, and ITT Industries Inc.'s Steven Loranger, who served in the Navy.

"What the military is really good at doing is teaching you to plan and program," said Michael Jordan, Electronic Data Systems Corp. …

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