The Impact of CEO Characteristics on Capital Structure: A Systematic Literature Review


  • L.G.R.V. De Silva Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • Y.K. Weerakoon Department of Finance, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka



The objective of this study is to systematically analyse the existing literature on the subject of the impact made by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) characteristics on capital structure and thereby identify the gaps in the literature and emerging trends on this topic in order to provide a basic conclusion. This study provides an overview of previous studies, which have been conducted in the domain of CEO characteristics on the capital structure by analysing prior articles based on this topic. A Systematic Literature Review (SLR) methodology is used to review eight articles selected from referred journals during the period of 25 years from 1995 to 2020. This comprehensive review reveals that different researchers across various jurisdictions have proved that as an unobservable component the CEO characteristics make an impact on the firm’s capital structure. As existing literature is only based on investigating the empirical relationship between CEO characteristics and capital structure, none of the existing studies have adopted survey, qualitative and triangulation methods for research studies with enough systematic theory development and it opens new areas for future research. Major findings show an increase of research interest in this topic in the recent past, but it is observed that most of the regions and countries are still not examined which provides scope for cross country studies. This study is a systematic literature review in nature. Therefore, it does not provide any empirical results for conclusion where only a summary of the outcomes of various researches has been synthesised. So far there is no literature review study which has been conducted on CEO characteristics and capital structure perspective, and this is the first literature review study under this topic. The paper will be useful for researchers and academics to understand the impact of CEO characteristics on capital structure in a theoretical dimension as well as to conduct further future research on new avenues.

Keywords: Capital Structure, CEO Characteristics, Debt Capital, Literature Review, Upper Echelon Theory