Men with wider faces ‘make best leaders’
A study found that the wider a chief executive’s face in relation to its length, the better the organisation is likely to fare.
It cites wide-faced Herb Kelleher – the former chief executive of Southwest Airlines – and long-faced Dick Fuld, of the ill-fated Lehman Brothers – as examples to the trend.
Elaine Wong, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said looking at faces was not as leftfield as it sounds.
Previous studies have linked the ratio of a face’s width to height to aggression, and men with wider faces are seen as less trustworthy and feel more powerful. Dr Wong said: “Most of these are seen as negative things, but power can have some positive effects.”
It is believed that the ratio, which applies only to men, is linked to testosterone levels, according to the journal Psychological Science.
Dr Wong and colleagues looked at the faces of 55 male chief executives of publicly- traded Fortune 500 organisations, then analysed their company performance, educational background and relationship with shareholders.
She said: “In our sample, the CEOs with the higher facial ratios actually achieved significantly greater firm financial performance than CEOs with the lower facial ratios.”
But she warned that the study was carried out indirectly, through letters to shareholders and studies of the chief executives backgrounds, rather than direct interviews.
She said: “CEOs and top executives don’t typically have time to talk with researchers or take batteries of tests. Our research has primarily been at a distance.”
Chief executives deferring to management teams can also lessen the impact of the facial shape, she says.