CEO Succession Roulette
Management Science, forthcoming
48 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2016 Last revised: 4 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 4, 2022
Despite intense scrutiny from investors, markets, and regulators, many public companies have no formal succession plans. Anecdotal evidence links succession risk to significant value destruction, but there is limited academic research evaluating the effects of succession planning on CEO turnover outcomes. We provide evidence that succession planning reduces the cost of management transitions by improving their efficiency. Firms with succession plans experience not only lower uncertainty around turnover events but also a faster reduction in uncertainty over the incoming CEO’s tenure, consistent with faster learning about CEO-firm fit. Succession planning also raises the quality of the CEO-firm match, as evidenced by longer CEO tenure, and improves the board’s readiness to replace an underperforming CEO, increasing turnover-performance sensitivity.
Keywords: CEO turnover, succession planning, executive labor market, CEO-firm match, CEO turnover-performance sensitivity
JEL Classification: G34, J24, J41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation