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Do Independent Expert Directors Matter?

Ronald Masulis, Christian Ruzzier (), Sheng Xiao and Shan Zhao

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: The generally weak correlation between board independence and firm performance is a major empirical puzzle. One possible explanation is that director independence alone is not enough. To explore this possibility, we examine the full employment histories of independent directors at S&P 1500 companies. We define an independent expert director (IED) as an independent director who has worked in the same 2-digit SIC industry as the company where he/she serves as an independent director. We show that the proportion of IEDs on a board is positively and significantly correlated with firm performance. We find that when the proportion of IEDs is higher, there are fewer earnings restatements and larger cash holdings. Firms with IEDs have higher CEO pay-performance sensitivity, higher CEO turnover-performance sensitivity, and more patents with more citations. Stock market investors react positively to IED appointments. We also find the higher the CEO power, the less likely IEDs will be on board.

Keywords: corporate governance; independent directors; experience; restatement; cash holding; executive compensation; CEO turnover; innovation; CEO power (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G32 G34 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012-06-01
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