Do Chinese CEOs Consume Abnormal Perks Before Leaving Their Firms?

Do Chinese CEOs Consume Abnormal Perks Before Leaving Their Firms?

Martin J. Conyon University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Junxiong Fang Sr.Fudan University – School of Management

Lerong He State University of New York (SUNY) College at Brockport; University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

November 16, 2013

Abstract: 
Economic success is driven by the optimal design of economic institutions. We investigate whether Chinese CEOs consume abnormal or ‘excess’ perks prior to leaving their firms. Agency models predict that CEO incentives and behavior might change in the years leading up to CEO turnover (the ‘horizon effect’). We predict that CEOs might consume excess perks at the expense of owners’ interests. Using data on Chinese publicly traded firms between 2003 and 2011 we find that abnormal perk consumption is significantly higher in the last two years of CEOs’ tenure compared to previous years. We also find that abnormal perk consumption is lower when the board is more independent, when the firm is privately controlled, and when the external auditor is more reputable. We find that perk consumption in CEOs’ terminal years vary with the type of CEO transition. Voluntary CEO turnover is associated with excess perks, whereas forced CEO turnovers are not. We find no evidence that abnormal perk consumption is associated with lower level of executive compensation, dispelling the idea that cash compensation and perks are substitutes. Instead, we document that abnormal perk consumption has a significant negative effect on firm performance. Overall, our results indicate that abnormal perk consumption and poor institutional design are correlated with managerial excess in China and there exists a horizon problem for Chinese executives.

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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