When shopping for mutual funds, it's often wise to consider the tenure of the current manager. A fund might have a terrific 10-year track record, for example, but if its manager has only been at the helm for the past year, most of that great record is due to someone else's efforts. The same goes for companies and CEOs.

You might love a strong company's long-term performance, and expect great things from it in the future. But if it's under new leadership, its latest chief might not be as skilled as the last -- or, in fairness, he or she might be much better.

Look at Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). The stock has recently been trading near $60 per share, after languishing around the $40s for most of the past five years. The company grew briskly under the leadership of Roberto Goizueta from 1980 until 1997, when he succumbed to cancer. Since Goizueta, the company's had four CEOs, not unlike the Von Trapp children's string of governesses in The Sound of Music. (Doug Ivester, Douglas Daft, Neville Isdell, and now Muhtar Kent have all taken turns in Coca-Cola's big chair.)

Liberum Management, which keeps tabs on executive turnover, recently reported that while turnover was lower than 2006's record levels, it remains high overall. On its website, Liberum discusses a study that "demonstrated that management change can lead to investment decisions with extraordinary returns." Liberum points to a 59% run-up in Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) stock in the 16 months after Mark Hurd became CEO in 2005.

What other companies have recently switched out their top ranks? Here are a few from last month, according to Liberum's database:

  • Noble (NYSE:NE)
  • Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD)
  • Odyssey Marine Exploration (NASDAQ:OMEX)
  • Wellcare Health Plans (NYSE:WCG)
  • eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)
  • Target

By keeping tabs on companies experiencing turnover at the top, you may be able to unearth some bargains. If you invest while these companies are still down, you might reap the benefits as talented new leaders execute turnarounds.