Since the Global Financial Crisis, there are suggestions that companies are re-thinking the capitals required for a high performing CEO. One hundred and twenty chairpersons, executive recruiters and CEOs completed semi-structured interviews to determine the CEO capitals valued by boards, including how the volumes and structures of CEO capital interact with the corporate context in board assessments of candidate fit. Results revealed a narrow set of highly context dependent capitals with social capital playing a determinative role in all CEO appointments. CEO capitals were valued by firms only where they were developed in specific industry or organizational contexts. A CEO candidate's track record was the dominant lens used to validate the CEO capitals gained across different business cycles and contexts. The critical role of social capital in CEO appointments was also identified as having significant implications for models of work experience and career development. Finally, we offer a preliminary model of the complex and reciprocal relationships at work between various key stakeholders towards validating the capital of CEO candidates.
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