Governance in the Executive Suite and Board Independence
42 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2014 Last revised: 29 May 2015
Date Written: January 6, 2014
The overall independence of a firm’s governance system depends not only on the independence of its board of directors but also on CEO influence over the other top executives. We find that board independence and independence from CEO influence in the executive suite are inversely related. Difference-in-difference estimates using a regulatory shock reveal that strengthening board independence weakens executive suite independence, which is proxied by (the inverse of) the fraction of top executives appointed by a current CEO. We also find that the greater the increase in the fraction of the current CEO’s appointees in the executive suite, the lesser the improvement in monitoring CEO compensation and the lower the shareholder value enhancement in the aftermath of the regulation. These findings imply that one cannot infer overall independence based on board independence alone and that strengthening a specific governance mechanism by regulation can have undesirable spillover effects to a seemingly unrelated governing body.
Keywords: Corporate Governance, Monitoring CEOs, Executive Suite Independence, Unintended Consequences of Regulation
JEL Classification: G34, G38, K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation