The bald truth about CEOs

Zebrowitz says she knows of no research that has tried to determine whether bald men are more likely to have baby faces than men with hair. But if bald men do look more babyish, "Then that could account for their under-representation among CEOs," she says.

Nicholas Rule, who wrote the paper "The Face of Success," published in February's issue of Psychological Science, says bald men may be more likely to be victims of the "baby-face bias" described by Zebrowitz. In his study, Rule had Tufts University students look at photos of CEOs and offer their gut reactions about their leadership capabilities. At USA TODAY's request, Rule examined the data and found that the photos of bald CEOs were considered by the students to be warmer but less powerful than CEOs with hair.

"A great smile is much better" than hair or height, says Howard Behar, the 5-foot-10 and bald former president of Starbucks North America. "I mean, look at Mitt Romney. Lots of hair. Tall and good-looking. Sure didn't help him. Compare him to the Dalai Lama: short, no hair and not exactly a looker. Just call me the Dalai Behar."

Some say that worse than bald is trying to cover it up with a "comb-over" that uses remaining hair to cover the exposed scalp. "Like most CEOs, I'm cognizant of my appearance," says Bob Kodner, CEO of The Crack Team franchiser that fixes leaking basement cracks. Five years ago, Kodner saw his cranium in an elevator mirror and thought someone had "thrown a piece of baloney on my head." Ever since, he's been shaving his head once a week. His advice: Don't "prolong the inevitable."

Craigslist founder and Chairman Craig Newmark is bald and "almost" 5-foot-7. Company CEO Jim Buckmaster is a foot taller and rich in hair.

"The general Net community does regard me as eye candy, a la George Costanza" from Seinfeld, Newmark says, but he adds that neither bald nor short is a good thing in corporate life. When pressed to make a choice, Newmark says, "I'd prefer to be a few inches taller."

TELL US: If you had to change your hair or your height to make it to the top of the corporate ladder, which would you choose?

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