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The Influence of German Top Executives on Corporate Policy and Firm Performance

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Marcel Normann

The question of whether strategic leaders really matter is important to a wide array of topics. Three essays contribute to empirical top executive research on the relative importance of German CEOs and CFOs. The analyses are based on a unique dataset that includes observations from more than 300 CEOs and 100 CFOs working for 110 publicly listed German firms that operated in 10 different industries between 1983 and 2002. The first essay describes and analyzes characteristics of top executives. The second essay examines the existence and size of top executive-specific effects as well as industry-, company- and executive-level moderating factors. The third essay sheds light on the circumstances under which CEOs and CFOs matter the most (or least).

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6. Acknowledgements

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I would like to express my deep gratitude to numerous people for their gener- ous support and assistance. Throughout my work, Dirk Schiereck has always been a constructive and supportive supervisor to me. Not only has he given me great freedom to pursue my ideas, but also pushed me in the right direction when needed. Bjoern Six and Ruth Maria Stock have been great co-authors, who helped advance the third essay on managerial discretion. I also benefitted from countless conversations with my peers at the Endowed Chair for Bank- ing and Finance and McKinsey & Company such as Markus Mentz and Anja Lambrecht to single out a few. It goes without saying that I am deeply grate- ful to my parents, Klaus and Sigrid Normann, my sister, Sandra Normann- Kravitz, and my parents-in-law, Uwe and Gunnel Weiler, for moral support and gentle reminders. Finally, I most want to thank my wife Tina Weiler-Nor- mann for her love, sacrifice, and kind forbearance. I also credit our children, Johanna Amalia and Katharina Elisabeth, for inspiration and unconditional love. This project is over now and I am coming home. Marcel Normann

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