Wednesday, 07 July 2010 11:28

Technology CEOs Report - Combined Chairman and CEO Featured

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)


Fewer than 50% of companies had independent Chairmen, and companies with revenue between $100 M – $1 B are slightly more prone to allowing one person to hold the combined roles.

CEO only vs. CEO and Chairman distribution


Companies with independent chairmen outperformed companies that combined roles.

ceo only vs. ceo and chairman performance comparison

The performance edge was more marked in larger companies.

CEO only vs. CEO and Chairman Performance Comparison

There is a smaller edge for companies with revenue between $100 M – $1 B.

CEO only vs. CEO and chairman performance comparison

The smaller edge for companies with revenue between $100 M – $1 B may be due to the fact that there has not been an impetus to recruit an independent Chair when a strong founder has successfully transitioned from start-up to mid-sized company. Formalizing a separate Chair role tends to happen as companies mature.


Companies with independent chairs do nominally outperform their peers based on median 3-year growth rates. However, the labels can mask actual division of responsibilities.

In some companies, a CEO transitioning to a Chair-only role may influence selection of a cooperative replacement CEO who lets the Chair still call the shots. In other companies, a strong CEO forced to accept an “independent” Chair may influence the selection to retain as much free reign as possible.

This is a controversial area and one that merits more investigation.

Read 431 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 11:07
Dora Vell

Dora Vell is the Managing Partner of Vell Executive Search, a boutique executive search firm in Boston focused on recruiting technology executives and board members. Vell has successfully completed numerous board member and C-level executive searches, including CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and Vice Presidents - at both public and private companies.

Prior to founding the firm in 2005, Vell was a Partner at Heidrick & Struggles' Technology practice for seven years.  Before her career in executive search, she worked at IBM for 11 years, managing software engineering organizations of 100 people and software sales organizations with revenues of $150 million. She has also served as an executive assistant to the CEO of IBM Canada for one year.

Vell holds seven worldwide software patents. She has published several Business of Leadership reports on governance and leadership and has been quoted in numerous articles including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fortune, Agenda Week, MSNBC, Mass High Tech, the OPUS for the World Economic Forum, Boston Business Journal, The Globe & Mail, CIO Magazine, and IEEE. She also has been a featured speaker on leadership at numerous conferences and at Columbia University's MBA program.

Vell is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), the Boston CEO Roundtable. She has served on the boards of Framingham State, Entrepreneur's Organization, Goodwill, Mary Centre for developmentally handicapped adults,, and RBC Capital Partners.

She has received an MBA from the University of Toronto, a Master in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor in Computer Science from Carleton. She has also completed the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s program.

Leave a comment

Subscribe to Vell Leadership Insights

Track leadership moves and stay up to date with current trends