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Go before the whistle blows: an empirical analysis of director turnover and financial fraud

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Listed:
  • Yanmin Gao

    (City University of Hong Kong)

  • Jeong-Bon Kim

    (University of Waterloo)

  • Desmond Tsang

    (McGill University)

  • Haibin Wu

    (City University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

This study investigates whether outside directors are aware of financial fraud. Our analysis focuses on the abnormal turnover of these directors during the fraud committing period, before fraud is discovered and before lawsuits are filed. Our empirical analysis shows that, during the fraud committing period, outside directors in fraud firms exhibit an abnormal level of turnover. Examining the characteristics of outside directors and boards at these fraud firms, we find strong evidence that female directors, directors who have greater stock ownership in the firm, and directors with multiple directorships at other firms are more likely to depart fraud firms. We also find some evidence that board size, number of meetings, and fraction of financial experts are related to abnormal turnover in fraud firms during the fraud committing period. We show that abnormal director turnover is significantly higher for fraud that is considered more egregious (i.e., involving fictitious transactions and disclosure problems). Lastly, directors are more likely to depart fraud firms with more serious fraud, as proxied by higher ex-post settlement amounts and longer fraud duration.

Suggested Citation

  • Yanmin Gao & Jeong-Bon Kim & Desmond Tsang & Haibin Wu, 2017. "Go before the whistle blows: an empirical analysis of director turnover and financial fraud," Review of Accounting Studies, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 320-360, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:reaccs:v:22:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11142-016-9381-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s11142-016-9381-z
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    8. Street, Daniel A. & Hermanson, Dana R., 2019. "How do restatements affect outside directors and boards? A review of the literature," Journal of Accounting Literature, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 19-46.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial fraud; Board of director turnover; Director and board characteristics; Fictitious transaction; Disclosure problem;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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