Lucky CEOS

62 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2006 Last revised: 17 May 2007

See all articles by Lucian A. Bebchuk

Lucian A. Bebchuk

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Yaniv Grinstein

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Urs Peyer

INSEAD - Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2006

Abstract

We study the relation between corporate governance and opportunistic timing of CEO option grants via backdating or otherwise. Our methodology focuses on how grant date prices rank within the price distribution of the grant month. During 1996-2005, about 12% of firms provided one or more lucky grant -- defined as grants given at the lowest price of the month -- due to opportunistic timing. Lucky grants were more likely when the board did not have a majority of independent directors and/or the CEO had longer tenure -- factors associated with increased influence of the CEO on pay-setting. We find no evidence that gains from manipulated grants served as a substitute for compensation paid through other sources; total reported compensation from such sources was higher in firms providing lucky grants. Finally, opportunistic timing has been widespread throughout the economy, with a significant presence in each of the economy's twelve (Fama-French) industries.

Suggested Citation

Bebchuk, Lucian A. and Grinstein, Yaniv and Peyer, Urs C., Lucky CEOS (December 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12771. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=953195

Lucian A. Bebchuk (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3138 (Phone)
617-812-0554 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Yaniv Grinstein

Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ( email )

Sage Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607-255-8686 (Phone)
607-254-4590 (Fax)

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Urs C. Peyer

INSEAD - Finance ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
F-77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France
+33 1 6072 4178 (Phone)
+33 1 6072 4045 (Fax)

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