Chief Executive Officer Departures and Market Uncertainty
Posted: 30 Jul 2013
Date Written: July 29, 2013
This study investigates the effect on stock return volatility of a significant event in the life of a firm, a change in its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Citing weaknesses in the prior literature, we bring a new approach to re-examine the issue. Firstly, we use a relatively unbiased classification system using both company announcements and media reports. Secondly, we use short-term stock return volatility as a more accurate estimator to isolate the effect of a single disclosure. We find strong evidence that the level of stock return volatility increases following announcements of CEO departures, and that the increase is significantly higher following announcements of forced departures compared to voluntary departures. The results are consistent with signalling effect theory in that forced dismissals convey previously unknown information to the market. Signed cumulative abnormal returns are also more negative for a forced CEO departure.
Keywords: abnormal returns, Chief Executive Officer, stock return volatility
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