CEO Centrality

This post is from Lucian Bebchuk of Harvard Law School.

The Harvard Law School Program on Corporate Governance just issued my discussion paper, CEO Centrality, co-authored with Martijn Cremers and Urs Peyer. Our abstract describes the paper as follows:

We investigate the relationship between CEO centrality – the relative importance of the CEO within the top executive team in terms of ability, contribution, or power – and the value and behavior of public firms. Our proxy for CEO centrality is the fraction of the top-five compensation captured by the CEO. We find that CEO centrality is negatively associated with firm value (as measured by industry-adjusted Tobin’s Q). Greater CEO centrality is also correlated with (i) lower (industry-adjusted) accounting profitability, (ii) lower stock returns accompanying acquisitions announced by the firm and higher likelihood of a negative stock return accompanying such announcements, (iii) greater tendency to reward the CEO for luck in the form of positive industry-wide shocks, (iv) lower likelihood of CEO turnover controlling for performance, and (v) lower firm-specific variability of stock returns over time. Overall, our results indicate that differences in CEO centrality are an aspect of firm management and governance that deserves the attention of researchers.

The full paper can be downloaded here.

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