The Impact of the CEO's View of Risk on Turnover and the Value of Equity
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Recent theory predicts that two factors influencing the CEO’s view of risk, overconfidence and debt-like compensation, have implications for CEO forced turnover and firm equity value, respectively. We test each of these predictions using large samples of CEOs from S and P 1500 firms, with statistical methods such as Cox proportional semi-parametric hazard models and Ordinary Least Squares regressions. Section 2 tests the theoretical prediction that CEOs with excessively low or excessively high overconfidence face a higher likelihood of forced turnover. We find empirical support for this prediction: excessively overconfident (diffident) CEOs have forced turnover hazard rates approximately 67 percent (97 percent) higher than moderately overconfident CEOs. To the extent that boards terminate non-value-maximizing CEOs, the results are broadly consistent with the view that there is an interior optimum level of managerial overconfidence that maximizes firm value. Section 3 tests the theoretical prediction that debt or debt-like compensation can be used as a part of optimal executive compensation, leading to an increase in the value of equity. We find weak evidence of positive abnormal returns in response to decreases in the deviation from optimal CEO debt-to-equity when the CEO’s debt-to-equity was less than the firm’s or when then firm had low institutional ownership. The results suggest that the optimal use of debt compensation can in fact be beneficial to equity holders.
Campbell, Timothy Colin (2010). The Impact of the CEO's View of Risk on Turnover and the Value of Equity. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from