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The impact of CEO turnover on equity volatility

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  • Matthew J. Clayton
  • Jay C. Hartzell
  • Joshua V. Rosenberg

Abstract

A change in executive leadership is a significant event in the life of a firm. This study investigates an important consequence of a CEO turnover: a change in equity volatility. We develop three hypotheses about how changes in CEO might affect stock price volatility, and test these hypotheses using a sample of 872 CEO turnovers over the 1979-95 period. We find that volatility increases following a CEO turnover, even when the CEO leaves voluntarily and is replaced by someone from inside the firm. Forced turnovers increase volatility more than voluntary turnovers - a finding consistent with the view that forced departures imply a higher probability of large strategy changes. For voluntary departures, outside successions increase volatility more than inside successions. We attribute this volatility change to increased uncertainty over the successor CEO's skill in managing the firm's operations. We also document a greater stock price response to earnings announcements following CEO turnover, consistent with more informative signals of value driving the increased volatility. Our findings are robust to controls for firm-specific characteristics such as firm size, changes in firm operations, and changes in volatility and performance prior to the turnover.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 166.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:166

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Keywords: Executives ; Stock - Prices ; Labor turnover;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Desai, Chintal A. & Savickas, Robert, 2010. "On the causes of volatility effects of conglomerate breakups," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 554-571, September.
  2. David Yermack, 2012. "Tailspotting: Identifying and profiting from CEO vacation trips," NBER Working Papers 17940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bialkowski, Jedrzej & Gottschalk, Katrin & Wisniewski, Tomasz, 2006. "Stock market volatiltity around national elections," MPRA Paper 302, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Nov 2006.
  4. Essaddam, Naceur & Karagianis, John M., 2014. "Terrorism, country attributes, and the volatility of stock returns," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 87-100.
  5. Loughran, Tim & McDonald, Bill, 2013. "IPO first-day returns, offer price revisions, volatility, and form S-1 language," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 307-326.
  6. Robert Freeman & Adam Koch & Haidan Li, 2011. "Can historical returns-earnings relations predict price responses to earnings news?," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 35-62, July.
  7. Kiran Thapa, 2013. "Stock Message Board Recommendations and Share Trading Activity," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 10.
  8. Grinstein, Yaniv, 2006. "The disciplinary role of debt and equity contracts: Theory and tests," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 419-443, October.
  9. Hadem, Michael, 2010. "Bedingungen und Konsequenzen des Wechsels von Finanzvorständen - Eine Analyse in großen börsennotierten Unternehmen," EconStor Theses, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 43681.
  10. Andrea M. Maechler & Klaus Schaeck & Martin Cihák & Stéphanie Marie Stolz, 2009. "Who Disciplines Bank Managers?," IMF Working Papers 09/272, International Monetary Fund.
  11. David-Jan Jansen, 2008. "Has the Clarity of Humphrey-Hawkins Testimonies Affected Volatility in Financial Markets?," DNB Working Papers 185, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  12. Hu, Fang & Leung, Sidney C.M., 2012. "Top management turnover, firm performance and government control: Evidence from China's listed state-owned enterprises," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 235-262.
  13. Taylor, Lucian A., 2013. "CEO wage dynamics: Estimates from a learning model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 79-98.
  14. Perryman, Alexa A. & Butler, Frank C. & Martin, John A. & Ferris, Gerald R., 2010. "When the CEO is ill: Keeping quiet or going public?," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 21-29, January.
  15. Campbell, T. Colin & Gallmeyer, Michael & Johnson, Shane A. & Rutherford, Jessica & Stanley, Brooke W., 2011. "CEO optimism and forced turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(3), pages 695-712, September.

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