CEO Activism and Firm Value

61 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2020 Last revised: 29 Jul 2021

See all articles by Anahit Mkrtchyan

Anahit Mkrtchyan

University of Calgary

Jason Sandvik

A.B. Freeman School of Business

Vivi Zhu

Tulane University; Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Date Written: July 29, 2021


We investigate the impact of CEO activism, the increasingly common practice of CEOs speaking out on social and political issues, on firm value. CEO activism may be beneficial for shareholders, as it can bolster firms’ relationships with employees and customers. Alternatively, CEO activism may be detrimental if it alienates stakeholders with opposing views. Consistent with the former, we find that CEO activism results in positive market reactions and higher valuations. These results can be explained by increased employee productivity, greater innovation, and a reduced likelihood of employee-related litigation. Notably, activist CEOs are less likely to be fired and benefit from more future directorships.

Keywords: CEO Activism, firm value, productivity, innovation

JEL Classification: G34

Suggested Citation

Mkrtchyan, Anahit and Sandvik, Jason and Zhu, Zhiwei, CEO Activism and Firm Value (July 29, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Anahit Mkrtchyan (Contact Author)

University of Calgary ( email )

University Drive
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

Jason Sandvik

A.B. Freeman School of Business ( email )

7 McAlister Drive
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Zhiwei Zhu

Tulane University ( email )

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA
United States

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

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