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Rating Change and CEO Turnover

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Abstract

We study the relationship between credit rating changes and CEO turnover beyond firm performance. Using an adverse selection model that explicitly incorporates rating change related turnover, our model predicts that a downgrade triggers turnover, more so the lower the managerial entrenchment, but that this relation is weaker when the report provided by the rating agency is more reliable. Our empirical results support these predictions. We show that downgrades explain forced turnover risk, with the new CEO chosen outside the firm that has received the negative credit rating change. In addition, we find that the relation between rating changes and management turnover is stronger when the degree of managerial entrenchment is low, for firms characterized by a high level of investment and for firms less exposed to rating fees. Finally, we show that this relation has weakened in the post-2007 crisis period, in coincidence with the increased reputational concerns of the rating agencies. The results are robust to endogeneity concerns.

Suggested Citation

  • Annamaria Menichini & Francesca Toscano, 2016. "Rating Change and CEO Turnover," CSEF Working Papers 459, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:459
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contracts; Ratings; CEO Turnover.;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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