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Voting with their feet or activism? Institutional investors’ impact on CEO turnover

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  • Helwege, Jean
  • Intintoli, Vincent J.
  • Zhang, Andrew

Abstract

We examine the relation between institutional investors and management discipline over the last several decades to better understand how CEO turnover has increased. Using a sample of forced and voluntary turnovers, we investigate the changing roles of activism and exit among institutional investors between 1982–1994 and 1995–2006. We find evidence of activist investors throughout the sample period and their impact is consistently significant in multivariate analysis. In contrast, voting with their feet has declined to the point where it no longer affects turnover outcomes. Nonetheless, activism is fairly uncommon and does not explain the higher turnover observed over time. Block holdings of known activists have increased and are linked to improving target firms. However, other blocks merely reflect the increasing size of institutional money managers. Going forward, the increasing size of institutional investors seems likely to inhibit voting with their feet while activism remains an important vehicle for change.

Suggested Citation

  • Helwege, Jean & Intintoli, Vincent J. & Zhang, Andrew, 2012. "Voting with their feet or activism? Institutional investors’ impact on CEO turnover," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 22-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:18:y:2012:i:1:p:22-37
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2011.10.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Firth, Michael & Gao, Jin & Shen, Jianghua & Zhang, Yuanyuan, 2016. "Institutional stock ownership and firms’ cash dividend policies: Evidence from China," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 91-107.
    2. Bajo, Emanuele & Barbi, Massimiliano & Bigelli, Marco & Hillier, David, 2013. "The role of institutional investors in public-to-private transactions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4327-4336.
    3. Vincent C. Ma & John S. Liu, 2016. "Exploring the research fronts and main paths of literature: a case study of shareholder activism research," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 109(1), pages 33-52, October.
    4. Callen, Jeffrey L. & Fang, Xiaohua, 2013. "Institutional investor stability and crash risk: Monitoring versus short-termism?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3047-3063.
    5. repec:eee:corfin:v:44:y:2017:i:c:p:405-424 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:jaecon:v:64:y:2017:i:1:p:37-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Roman, Raluca, 2015. "Shareholder activism in banking," Research Working Paper RWP 15-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    8. Bernile, Gennaro & Sulaeman, Johan & Wang, Qin, 2015. "Institutional trading during a wave of corporate scandals: “Perfect Payday”?," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 191-209.
    9. Holderness, Clifford G. & Pontiff, Jeffrey, 2016. "Shareholder nonparticipation in valuable rights offerings: New findings for an old puzzle," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(2), pages 252-268.
    10. Barbara Voußem & Utz Schäffer & Denis Schweizer, 2015. "Top management turnover under the influence of activist investors," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 19(3), pages 709-739, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    CEO turnover; Institutional investors; Activists; Exit; Governance;

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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