Control Benefits and CEO Discipline in Automatic Bankruptcy Auctions

38 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2002

See all articles by B. Espen Eckbo

B. Espen Eckbo

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Karin S. Thorburn

Norwegian School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2002

Abstract

We argue that the existence of CEO private control benefits complements managerial reputation in counteracting costly shareholder risk-shifting incentives during severe financial distress, when job-loss may be imminent. We examine this argument empirically using bankruptcy filings in Sweden, where a filing automatically terminates CEO employment and requires the firm to be sold in an open auction. The median CEO income loss is a dramatic 40%, suggesting that bankruptcy filing damages CEO reputation. Empirical proxies for both CEO reputation and control benefits are significant determinants of the probability of the CEO being rehired by the buyer in the auction, as predicted. Moreover, we find that the rehired CEOs generate a post-bankruptcy accounting performance at par with industry rivals. The surprisingly strong survival characteristics of the reorganized firms are consistent with managerial conservatism ex ante, and help alleviate creditor concern with costly asset substitution designed to delay filing in an automatic bankruptcy auction system.

Keywords: Post-bankruptcy performance, CEO turnover, bankruptcy, executive compensation, private benefits of control, risk-shifting incentives

JEL Classification: D44, G33, G34, K22

Suggested Citation

Eckbo, B. Espen and Thorburn, Karin S., Control Benefits and CEO Discipline in Automatic Bankruptcy Auctions (July 2002). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3481, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=330562

B. Espen Eckbo (Contact Author)

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-646-3953 (Phone)
603-646-3805 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/eckbo

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Karin S. Thorburn

Norwegian School of Economics ( email )

Helleveien 30
N-5045 Bergen
Norway
+4755959283 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nhh.no/cv/thorburn

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

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