CEO Compensation and Corporate Governance in China

57 Pages Posted: 31 May 2012

See all articles by Martin J. Conyon

Martin J. Conyon

Bentley University; Wharton School, Center for Human Resources

Lerong He

State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 30, 2012

Abstract

We analyze CEO pay in China’s public traded firms from 2000 to 2010. We find that Chinese CEO pay is made up mainly of salaries and bonuses. Firms can legally grant stock options since 2005, but the take up of these has been slow. We find that CEO equity ownership is higher in firms with higher CEO pay, more outside directors, combined CEO and chair, compensation committees, and better stock returns. We document that CEO pay is positively correlated to both accounting and stock market performance, although the link to accounting performance is more robust. CEO pay is higher in firms with more growth opportunities, compensation committees, and combined CEO and Chair. We find that CEO pay dynamics are important as pay this year is significantly positively correlated to CEO pay last year. Boards and compensation committees adjust CEO to target levels over a number of years. In addition, our study documents substantial changes in Chinese corporate governance over time. The Chinese State is less likely to be the ultimate owner of public firms, ownership concentration has declined, and internal firm governance has improved significantly as evidenced by a greater fraction of outsiders on the board and the adoption of compensation committees.

Keywords: CEO Pay, Corporate Governance, China

Suggested Citation

Conyon, Martin J. and He, Lerong, CEO Compensation and Corporate Governance in China (April 30, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2071001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2071001

Martin J. Conyon (Contact Author)

Bentley University ( email )

175 Forest Street
Waltham, MA 02145
United States

Wharton School, Center for Human Resources ( email )

3600 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Lerong He

State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport ( email )

Brockport, NY 14420
United States

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