Three essays in corporate finance and corporate governance
Mohseni, Mahdi. “Three essays in corporate finance and corporate governance”, PhD, Boston College, 2015. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:104372.
In my first essay, I find that CEOs with more control over the firm have smaller compensation packages and are less likely to have severance contracts. Despite lower pay, these CEOs have longer tenure and their boards' replacement decisions are less sensitive to their performance, which is consistent with the view that there is a trade-off between pay and dismissal risk. To mitigate endogeneity concerns, I use divorce as an exogenous shock to CEO equity ownership, and find that following a divorce, turnover risk goes up and pay increases significantly. My findings highlight the importance of turnover risk in studying executive compensation. The second essay shows that staggered boards are associated with higher private benefits of control. We find that companies de-staggering their boards experience a decrease in control premiums. Using two court rulings in 2010 with opposite decisions on the effectiveness of staggered boards, we show that our findings are not driven by the endogeneity of the corporate control. Finally, we find evidence that the stock market reactions to the court rulings are negatively associated with the changes in control premium. Overall, our results suggest that staggered boards decrease shareholder value via entrenchment. In my third essay, I study the impact of accounting practices on debt renegotiations and covenant violations. Firms that recognize losses in a timelier manner (i.e., have more conservative accounting practices) have less slack at any given time and are more likely to violate loan covenants. But the consequences of a covenant violation by such firms differ from those of firms with aggressive accounting practices. I also find that firms with more conservative accounting practices are more likely to renegotiate their loans with creditors.