Two Essays in Corporate Finance
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CEO succession decisions are an important part of boards of directors’ responsibilities to shareholders. I study two aspects of these decisions. First, I examine whether or not forced CEO departure decisions are based on information that the board of directors has, but external investors do not. I find that the proxy for private information in the forced CEO departure decision is positively related to abnormal returns at the forced CEO departure announcement. This is consistent with the hypotheses that prior to the departure announcement, investors underestimate the probability of forced CEO departure, and that private information revealed in forced CEO departure announcements has positive implications for firm value. A second question related to boards of directors’ CEO succession decisions concerns their decisions to participate in the external market for CEO talent. I find evidence suggesting that board decisions to participate in the external market for CEO talent are influenced by the costs and benefits of doing so. Specifically, cross sectional analyses of a proxy for industry homogeneity shows that this variable is positively related to external labor market participation, more standardized search processes, and a higher likelihood that a newly appointed CEO will survive three years or more. These findings are generally consistent with prediction that when industries are more homogenous, external search costs are lower, and higher quality matches may be obtained. I also test hypotheses related to benefits of matching to individuals with industry specific skills versus general management skills. I find that for several alternative proxies for industry specific skill demand, there is a negative relation between demand for industry specific skills and the decision to hire externally outside the industry. This can be interpreted as support for hypotheses that cross sectional variation in benefits associated with industry specific skills leads to fewer CEO appointments outside the industry, while benefits of general management skills are associated with a higher likelihood of inter-industry CEO appointment.
Rutherford, Jessica Marie (2010). Two Essays in Corporate Finance. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from