This study aims to investigate how new CEOs’ previous experiences in other organizations and other industries create value in acquisitions. Drawing on the upper echelon perspective, this study theorizes that the multiorganizational experience of new CEOs is positively associated with acquisition performance and, in particular, that the multi-industry experience of new CEOs leads to better performance in diversifying acquisitions than in related acquisitions. While new CEOs without multiorganizational experience undergo a cognitive entrenchment in firm-specific experience, new CEOs with multiorganizational experience can lead acquisitions with more flexibility and agility.
Acquisition and organizational data were drawn from the US manufacturing industries (SIC 20-39) between 2008 and 2010. The event study method was used to test hypotheses. In 346 acquisitions made by 139 firms, acquisition performance was measured according to cumulative abnormal returns.
Consistent with the hypotheses, the multiorganizational experience of new CEOs was positively associated with acquisition performance and, in particular, the multi-industry experience of new CEOs led to better performance in diversifying acquisitions than in related acquisitions.
This paper contributes to the CEO literature and acquisition literature by suggesting that the multiorganizational experience of new CEOs can be a valuable source of competitive advantages, particularly when implementing corporate strategies involving interorganizational integration processes.
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