Is there any value in getting to know a company's top management? Many fundamental analysts would say yes. Getting a better handle on a company's managers presumably allows the analyst to better understand their thought processes and company strategies.

On the other hand a large section of investors simply ignore company management. Their quantitative processes focus solely on the company's results. One could claim that this can indirectly measure management's effectiveness.

Our supposition is that most analysts are overconfident in their ability to personally assess the quality of management based on in-person interaction. Analysts would presumably be attracted to extroverted CEOs who possess dynamic personalities. This point was driven home by an article by Del Jones in the USA Today. In it Jones provides some evidence that far more CEOs are introverted than one would expect.

It seems counter-intuitive, but introverts and closet introverts populate the highest corporate offices, so much so that four in 10 top executives test out to be introverts, a proportion only a little lower than the 50-50 split among the overall population age 40 and older.

The point is not that any particular personality type is necessary to be a successful CEO. Indeed our take from the article is that a wide range of personality types can be effective executives. The question is whether an outside analyst can effectively assess CEO skill based on limited interactions? Our guess is probably not.

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