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CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis


  • Gilson, Stuart C
  • Vetsuypens, Michael R


This paper studies senior management compensation policy in seventy-seven publicly traded firms that filed for bankruptcy or privately restructured their debt during 1981 to 1987. Almost one-third of all CEOs are replaced, and those who keep their jobs often experience large salary and bonus reductions. Newly appointed CEOs with ties to previous management are typically paid 35 percent less than the CEOs they replace. In contrast, outside replacement CEOs are typically paid 36 percent more than their predecessors, and are often compensated with stock options. On average, CEO wealth is significantly related to shareholder wealth after firms renegotiate their debt contracts. However, managers' compensation is sometimes explicitly tied to the value of creditors' claims. Copyright 1993 by American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilson, Stuart C & Vetsuypens, Michael R, 1993. "CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 425-458, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:48:y:1993:i:2:p:425-58

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