Weighing the evidence
- Companies that reallocated more resources—the top third of our sample, shifting an average of 56 percent of capital across business units over the entire 15-year period—earned, on average, 30 percent higher total returns to shareholders (TRS) annually than companies in the bottom third of the sample. This result was surprisingly consistent across all sectors of the economy. It seems that when companies disproportionately invest in value-creating businesses, they generate a mutually reinforcing cycle of growth and further investment options (Exhibit 2).
- Consistent and incremental reallocation levels diminished the variance of returns over the long term.
- A company in the top third of reallocators was, on average, 13 percent more likely to avoid acquisition or bankruptcy than low reallocators.
- Over an average six-year tenure, chief executives who reallocated less than their peers did in the first three years on the job were significantly more likely than their more active peers to be removed in years four through six. To paraphrase the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, tenure for static CEOs is likely to be nasty, brutish, and, above all, short.