CEOs: Big Signature, Big Narcissist, Big Trouble


Michael Dell (Dell) vs. Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard): Fiorina's signature is bigger; HP underperformed Dell by getting a lower return on its investments, according to Fast Company.

Asked what CEO in the study had the biggest signature, Wang tells ABC News it was Timothy Koogle, former CEO of Yahoo. He was CEO from 1995 to 2001, and chairman from 1999 to 2003. Wang, allowing for the fact that Koogle helmed the company "during a relatively strange time"--the rise and fall of the Internet bubble--the professor says he very much fits the model: From '97 to 2001, says Wang, Yahoo paid no dividends, made "extremely high investments," and gave Koogle some of the highest compensation in Silicon Valley.

Therein lays an irony, say the professors: Big-scrawl CEOs, though their companies tend to underperform, get paid more than their little-signature peers. They offer no explanation for that seeming disconnection, other than the speculation that these alleged egotists may be extremely good at sweet-talking and/or intimidating their boards.

Though the authors declined to provide a ranking of CEOs based on their signature research, we couldn't resist asking about real estate mogul Donald Trump, who some might cite as the poster boy for narcissism.

Wang declined to run Trump's seismographic scribble through the narcissizer. "But just looking at it," he said, "I don't think it would score that high. It's liney. There's a lot of up-and-down." That characteristic would reduce its overall score. Referring to the signature's presumed numerical value (not to the Donald's ego), professor Wang said, "It's not huge, relative to others."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Debra Messing, left, attending the premiere of Smash in New York City on Jan. 26, 2012 and right, attending the Broadway opening of Outside Mullingar on Jan. 23, 2014 in New York.
Jim Spellman/Getty Images | Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
Baby Lemur Relaxes on Mom
Jens Meyer/AP Photo
PHOTO: Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols watches the ball after connecting for his 500th career home run,April 22, 2014.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo
PHOTO: Online services such as help match people with the perfect pet.
Courtesy Darrell Lerner/