68 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 4, 2017
Inspired by recent academic advancement as well as real-world cases and media fervor on hedge fund activism, we investigate whether, how and why activist hedge funds are more likely to target companies led by female CEOs. Using a comprehensive dataset, we first confirm that activist hedge funds indeed regard female CEOs as preferred targets. We then report findings suggesting that the plausible cause for such a gender-specific focus is differences in managerial style between male and female CEOs: instead of being self-defensive, female CEOs are more likely to communicate and cooperate with activist hedge fund managers. Further analysis reveals that, although female-led targets experience a greater increase in operational efficiency, female CEOs themselves are still more likely to be replaced, suggesting a puzzling bias.
Keywords: Hedge Fund Activism; Female CEO; Managerial Characteristics
JEL Classification: G34; J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Francis, Bill and Shen, Yinjie(Victor) and Wu, Qiang, Do Activist Hedge Funds Target Female CEOs? The Role of CEO Gender in Hedge Fund Activism (August 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013878