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Title: The CEO succession decision in listed family firms
Author: Ansari, Iram
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 5936
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis contributes to our understanding of CEO succession decisions in family firms with an incumbent family CEO. The successor choice may be a manifestation of conflicts of interests between the controlling family and the minority shareholders. Previous research has focused on the consequences of the CEO succession on firm performance; it has not studied the factors that determine the choice of the successor, the shareholder reaction to this choice, nor methodological concerns particularly relating to adjusting board independence for links the directors have to the controlling family, thin trading and confounding events. Thus, our objectives are: (i) to highlight key methodological concerns and propose ways of addressing these, (ii) to identify the determinants of the CEO successor choice between a family and a nonfamily CEO and (iii) to examine the stock market reaction to the succession announcement. Our sample comprises 283 succession announcements in listed family firms from France, Germany and the UK during 2001-2010. We find that reported board independence is overstated compared to our proposed measure of adjusted board independence. Two factors are found to influence the CEO successor choice. First, while reported board independence has no impact on the successor choice, our adjusted measure of de facto independence reduces the likelihood of a family successor, implying that the former is a biased measure. Second, cross-listed French firms are less likely to appoint another family CEO, confirming the bonding hypothesis of Coffee (1999). Our event study presents new evidence on the drivers of the stock market reaction to the succession announcement in family firms. Investors only react to the announcement of a nonfamily CEO successor, which is met by positive cumulative abnormal returns (CARs). Poor past performance elicits more positive CARs to the announcement of a nonfamily CEO. Two other factors, on interaction with past performance, drive the stock market reaction to the latter announcement. Accordingly, in poorly performing firms, the greater the adjusted board independence, the less positive are the CARs when a nonfamily CEO is announced, whereas, more positive CARs are observed for firms that offer greater shareholder protection. The key policy implication of these results is that definitions for board independence in the codes of best practice must account for directors’ links to the controlling shareholders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HF Commerce ; HF5601 Accounting