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Although inventor CEOs drive firm innovation, widely recognized CEO abilities—general ability or managerial ability—could be central to leveraging CEOs’ invention abilities to drive firm innovation. Using CEO copatentors’ invention ability (defined as CEO patent coauthors’ average number of forward citations over the average number of patents) as an instrument for inventor CEOs, we study the value of CEOs’ general ability and managerial ability in enhancing the influence of inventor CEOs on firm innovation. Firms led by inventor CEOs with higher general abilities spur greater firm innovation. Surprisingly, however, firms led by inventor CEOs with a higher level of managerial ability realized lower firm innovation. Inventor CEOs with greater general abilities also translate firm innovation into better product-market outcomes and spur more firm innovation under better corporate governance. Our findings have implications for the influence of an inventor CEO on firm innovation outcomes.
Lin, Z., Patel, P., & Oghazi, P. (2021). The value of managerial ability and general ability for inventor CEOs. Journal of Business Research, 135, 78–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2021.06.014