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CEO compensation structure following succession: Evidence of optimal incentives with career concerns

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  • Elsaid, Eahab
  • Davidson III, Wallace N.
  • Benson, Bradley W.

Abstract

To motivate managers to pursue shareholder interests, boards may design management compensation packages to reward managers for good firm performance. However, Gibbons and Murphy (1992) note that when CEOs are far from retirement, they have career concerns. In these cases, Gibbons and Murphy argue that it may not be optimal for their current compensation to be too dependent on firm performance. Testing this proposition, we find that abnormal returns are negatively related to the percentage of performance-based pay of newly hired CEOs when companies announce CEO successions. Since these newly hired CEOs are likely some distance from retirement, we interpret these results as being consistent with Gibbons and Murphy; it may be better to allow newly hired CEOs to be paid in human capital increases from the managerial labor market than to have their current pay too closely related to performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Elsaid, Eahab & Davidson III, Wallace N. & Benson, Bradley W., 2009. "CEO compensation structure following succession: Evidence of optimal incentives with career concerns," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 1389-1409, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:quaeco:v:49:y:2009:i:4:p:1389-1409
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    References listed on IDEAS

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