CEO Turnover and Bankrupt Firms’ Emergence
30 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2020
Date Written: October-November 2020
This paper examines whether CEO turnover within a bankrupt firm predicts the firm's likelihood to reemerge from bankruptcy proceedings as a reorganized entity. Using 836 bankruptcy cases filed under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code from 1989 through 2016, we show that firms that undergo CEO turnover are significantly more likely to emerge from Chapter 11 proceedings. We conduct further analyses to examine the potential mechanisms through which CEO turnover is linked to a firm's chance of emergence. Consistent with the perspective that CEO turnover constitutes an observable event that can signal creditor support, we find that CEO turnover in bankrupt firms is positively associated with debtor‐in‐possession financing. Additionally, there is a significant increase in managerial quality post‐turnover. Further, we document that the predictive power of CEO turnover is stronger in bankruptcy cases with greater uncertainty, such as in free‐fall bankruptcies, where there is less preexisting agreement between the firm and its creditors. Overall, our findings provide valuable insight into external investors and stakeholder groups, whose interests are significantly impacted by corporate bankruptcies.
Keywords: bankruptcy, CEO turnover, Chapter 11 filings, corporate survival, firm emergence
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