This study investigates the effects of late CEO tenure on the investment and internationalization propensity of multinational enterprises with the objective to provide a number of important contributions to management theory and practice. We provide a link between the buoyant microfoundations of strategy literature, international business research, and upper echelons theory. Leveraging a sample of 159 CEOs and 3,024 domestic and international investment decisions we find support for the relationship between CEO tenure and increasing international investment. We also show that multinationals with CEOs approaching pre-retirement are more likely to engage in international investments than those multinationals with CEOs at earlier career stages. This effect is stronger for international acquisitions relative to international joint ventures. We call these “Twilight Season” effects. Our findings have important implications for multinational enterprises in regards of the management of CEO transition periods.
This is a joint research project together with Brian C. Pinkham