The crucial decisions that impact the performance of an organisation are usually taken by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). However, little is known about the impact that a CEO's risk appetite has on the decision making processes and its ultimate impact on company performance. A greater understanding of the relationship between CEO risk appetite and organisational performance will facilitate the improvement of strategy formulation for the purpose of managing risk appetite at an executive level.A qualitative exploration into the factors that have been acknowledged as contributory aspects in the development of executive risk appetites highlighted the aspects which had the greatest association to the formation of CEO risk appetite. These aspects were utilised in the formation of an interview schedule that evaluated the perceptions of seven CEOs regarding their risk appetite preferences.Using the findings of the CEO interviews, a model was formulated to quantify CEO risk appetite and test its relationship with company performance, which had been calculated via a quantitative analysis of company financial records.The findings of the analysis into the relationship between CEO risk appetite and company performance indicated a positive linear relationship between the two variables. The research findings regarding the factors contributing to CEO risk appetite also proved consistent with the majority of the literature on the subject.The implication of the findings for South African organisations will be an improved understanding of the relationship between CEO risk appetite and organisational performance and the ability to develop strategy around managing this relationship.