Abstract This paper examines the association between CEO reputation and corporate capital investments. The efficient contracting hypothesis predicts a positive association between CEO reputation and wealth effects of corporate capital investments. In contrast, the rent extraction hypothesis predicts that the wealth effects of capital investments are negatively associated with CEO reputation. We find that the stock market's responses to announcements of capital investments are more favorable for firms with more reputable CEOs. Moreover, CEO reputation mitigates the negative stock price reaction associated with announcements of capital investments by firms with high free cash flow and low growth opportunities. Additional analysis indicates that firms with more reputable CEOs exhibit significantly better post-investment operating performance improvements than those with less reputable CEOs, especially in firms with high free cash flow and low growth opportunities. Collectively, our results suggest that the efficient contracting hypothesis dominates the rent extraction hypothesis in terms of net economic impact of capital investments on the investing firm.