Entrenchment or Incentive? CEO Employment Contracts and Acquisition Decisions

Entrenchment or Incentive? CEO Employment Contracts and Acquisition Decisions

Jing Zhao North Caroliona State University – Poole College of Management

April 15, 2013
Journal of Corporate Finance, Forthcoming

Abstract: 
A long-standing controversy is whether CEO employment contracts insulate inferior managers from discipline leading to shareholder wealth destruction, or whether contracts alleviate managerial risk aversion and encourage value-enhancing decisions. Using a unique dataset on S&P 500 CEO employment contracts during 1993-2005, I find that acquirers with a CEO contract obtain better announcement returns, pay lower premiums for their targets, garner superior long-run post-acquisition operating performance, and undertake riskier deals than acquirers without a contract. Further investigation of individual contract provisions reveals substantial heterogeneity. Specifically, the fixed term rather than at will contract, longer contract duration, long-term equity incentives, accelerated stock and option vesting provisions in severance arrangement, and more refined definitions of just cause (good reason) for CEO termination (resignation) alleviate managerial risk aversion, reduce contracting ambiguity, and motivate value-creating decisions.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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