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When the CEO is ill: Keeping quiet or going public?


  • Perryman, Alexa A.
  • Butler, Frank C.
  • Martin, John A.
  • Ferris, Gerald R.


CEOs represent the pinnacle of leadership in organizations. In addition to power and prestige, constant media scrutiny and pressures to exceed past levels of firm performance are often associated with this role. Although CEOs may rely on other top managers for input regarding operational decisions and long-term planning, the outcomes of strategic initiatives rest solely on their shoulders. Moreover, how CEOs are depicted in the press can greatly affect public opinion about their organizations. In recent years, CEO health and health concerns have made headlines for such well-known companies as McDonald's, Clorox, Pilgrim's Pride, and EarthLink. In this article we discuss the ramifications of disclosure and non-disclosure of serious CEO health issues, and their potential impact on shareholder wealth and succession planning. We conclude by offering a few thoughts about the future direction of CEO health.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:53:y:2010:i:1:p:21-29

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Parrino, Robert, 1997. "CEO turnover and outside succession A cross-sectional analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 165-197, November.
    2. Dalton, Catherine M., 2006. "A recipe for success in succession planning," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 175-177.
    3. Matthew C. Clayton & Jay C. Hartzell & Joshua Rosenberg, 2005. "The Impact of CEO Turnover on Equity Volatility," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(5), pages 1779-1808, September.
    4. Weisbach, Michael S., 1988. "Outside directors and CEO turnover," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1-2), pages 431-460, January.
    5. Kenneth A. Borokhovich & Kelly R. Brunarski & Maura S. Donahue & Yvette S. Harman, 2006. "The Importance of Board Quality in the Event of a CEO Death," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 307-337, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Summers, James K. & Munyon, Timothy P. & Perryman, Alexa A. & Ferris, Gerald R., 2010. "Dysfunctional executive behavior: What can organizations do?," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(6), pages 581-590, November.
    2. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:7:p:1019-1049 is not listed on IDEAS


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