How Do Restatements Affect Outside Directors and Boards? A Review of the Literature
Journal of Accounting Literature, Forthcoming
61 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2018 Last revised: 11 Jul 2019
Date Written: May 29, 2019
This paper reviews academic literature related to the consequences that outside directors and boards may face in the wake of earnings restatements and suggests directions for future research. We examine loss of board seats; recruitment of new directors; proxy recommendations and shareholder support; pre-emptive director departures; director wealth effects; director reputation, litigation, and sanction risks; international evidence; and legal proposals for reform. The overall picture that emerges from the literature is that directors’ primary risk in the wake of earnings restatements is loss of board seats, in part through adverse proxy advisor recommendations and reduced shareholder support. Directors typically face little risk of legal liability or SEC sanctions, and some directors pre-emptively leave a problem company’s board and reduce their loss of interlocked board seats. Some legal scholars have called for director liability to be increased so as to promote more vigilant board oversight. Companies often focus on increasing the independence of the board in the wake of a restatement in an effort to repair organizational reputation. While researchers have revealed a host of important findings to date, much more can be learned about the effects of restatements on outside directors and boards.
Keywords: Restatement, board of directors, independent director, outside director, proxy advisor, shareholders
JEL Classification: M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation