CEO Leadership, Motivation, and Mobility in Large Mergers and Acquisitions

K. Park (USA)


Mergers and Acquisitions, Leadership, Corporate Renewal


A distinguishing characteristic of the most recent merger wave (19932000) was the tight coupling between CEOs and the major strategic maneuvers to combine large firms: acquiring and target CEOs were active architects in these billion-dollar transactions. This connection contrasts with the merger wave of the 1980s, where record-setting deals were frequently brokered by outside raiders or takeover specialists rather than the inside CEOs and board mem bers. This paper examines the leadership, motivation, and subsequent career mobility of the aquiring and target CEOs who strategized large U.S. mergers of the 1990s. The ini tial findings suggest that the merger-making CEOs (1) ex erted exceptional leadership influence and played pivotal roles from deal inception through execution, (2) undertook major mergers in order to enact profound interfirm meta morphic change, and (3) experienced unanticipated con sequences on their subsequent careers. Drawing on open systems theories, capital markets perspectives, and the ex ecutive leadership and turnover literatures, this paper de velops a multifaceted conceptual framework for exploring the merger-related impact of and outcomes for acquiring and target CEOs. The research strategy and results from the first stages of the empirical investigation are presented.

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