What Sets Successful CEOs Apart?

In the more than two decades we’ve spent advising boards, investors and chief executives on CEO transitions, we have seen a disconnect between what boards think makes for an ideal CEO and what actually leads to high performance. That disconnect starts with an unrealistic stereotype, according to which, a successful CEO is a charismatic 6-foot-tall white man with a degree from a top university, who is a strategic visionary with the ability to make perfect decisions under pressure.

Yet few of the successful leaders we’ve encountered fit this profile. That realisation led us to embark on a 10-year study, the CEO Genome Project. Its goal is to identify the attributes

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