Transparency of announcements and the outperformance puzzle
journal contributionposted on 05.07.2021, 23:46 by Paul Farah, Hui Li
This study investigates market reactions to announcements of CEO turnover and finds that forced turnovers are not accompanied by positive returns, which contradicts the broad view that firing a CEO sends a positive signal to the market. This contradiction is further explored by focusing on the nature of not only turnover but also a firm’s past performance. This study finds that the market seems to incorporate both types of information in reacting to CEO turnover announcements. Firing an underperforming CEO is viewed as a positive signal, whereas firing an outperforming CEO is viewed as a negative signal. Rather than taking early action against CEOs for a deterioration in their performance, firms appear to be firing outperforming CEOs owing to their apparent nonperformance-related reasons. This study also explores reasons behind the decision to fire a CEO from different news databases and finds that giving no clear reasons for a CEO’s departure increases uncertainty in the market, thereby causing a negative market reaction. However, stating performance as the reason for the departure assures investors about the future trajectory of the firm and results in a positive market reaction.