Do Corporate Boards Affect Firm Performance? New Evidence from the Financial Crisis

58 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2012

See all articles by Bill B. Francis

Bill B. Francis

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) - Lally School of Management

Iftekhar Hasan

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business; Bank of Finland

Qiang Wu

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) - Lally School of Management

Date Written: April 12, 2012

Abstract

This study uses the current financial crisis as a quasi-experiment to examine whether and to what extent corporate boards affect the performance of firms. Using cumulative stock returns over the crisis to measure of firm performance, we find that board independence, as traditionally defined, does not significantly affect firm performance. However, when we re-define independent directors as outside directors who are less connected with current CEOs, a measure we call true independence, there is a positive and significant relationship between this measure and firm performance. Second, outside financial experts are important for firm performance. Third, board meeting frequencies, director attendance behaviors, and director age also affect firm performance during the crisis. Overall, our results suggest that firm performance during a crisis is a function of firm-level differences in corporate boards.

Keywords: financial crisis, boards of directors, firm performance, true independence

JEL Classification: G01, G30, G34

Suggested Citation

Francis, Bill B. and Hasan, Iftekhar and Wu, Qiang, Do Corporate Boards Affect Firm Performance? New Evidence from the Financial Crisis (April 12, 2012). Bank of Finland Research Discussion Paper No. 11/2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2041194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2041194

Bill B. Francis

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) - Lally School of Management ( email )

Troy, NY 12180
United States

Iftekhar Hasan (Contact Author)

Fordham University - Gabelli School of Business ( email )

Rose Hill Campus Bronx
New York, NY 10458
United States

Bank of Finland ( email )

P.O. Box 160
Helsinki 00101
Finland

Qiang Wu

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) - Lally School of Management ( email )

110 8th St
Troy, NY 12180
United States
518-276-3338 (Phone)
518-276-8661 (Fax)

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