A novel study was updated in the Working Paper Series section of the Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a digital library of international academic research in the social sciences and humanities in April that found white males deemed attractive were also seen as competent and deserving of bigger paychecks.
Three researchers and finance professors at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University in the US state of North Carolina and the private, non-profit US organization National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), John Graham, Campbell Harvey and Manju Puri, were not pleased with their findings after asking "2,000 subjects to study the facial traits of CEOs" and non-CEOs to gauge numerical ratings of competence, liability, attractiveness, including ‘maturity' and ‘baby-facedness', and financial compensation.
The results of the study are not so novel but most interesting is the researchers' comments, "I thought the appearance thing was possible for politicians winning elections - but for CEOs, no way," said Harvey. "We are told that CEOs are very carefully vetted by boards of directors and professional consultants - as they should be for their multi-million dollar jobs. The fact that our research shows that appearance is unquestionably significant turns my stomach."
"Given there is no relation between appearance and company performance, I hope our research changes the way we select our corporate leaders: 'looks' should not be a factor!"
It could be argued that CEOs are the face of the company and why wouldn't you want to put your best (most attractive) image forward, provided candidates are selected from a qualified pool.
The study titled "A Corporate Beauty Contest" can be accessed at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1571469