CEO-CFO Educational Ties and Mergers and Acquisitions
44 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 18, 2019
This paper analyzes the social connections between a firm’s chief executive officer (CEO) and its chief financial officer (CFO). We focus on French educational networks and examine the corporate governance and performance of firms whose CEO and CFO attended the same elite college (Grande école). Given the strong involvement of CEOs and CFOs in the takeover process, we investigate acquisition policies and observe that strong social ties within the top management team are associated with higher acquisitiveness and lower returns for bidder shareholders. These results are consistent with excessive managerial homogeneity reducing CEO monitoring and reinforcing decisional biases such as overconfidence. We find that CEOs are more likely to choose socially connected CFOs when CEOs are more powerful and are employed at firms with lower board monitoring. We also show that CEOs are less likely to be fired when the firms’ CFOs are drawn from the same network. These results suggest that social connections within executive committees come at the cost of CEO entrenchment and corporate governance failures.
Keywords: CEO, CFO, Acquisitiveness, Bidder returns, Mergers and acquisitions, Entrenchment, CEO turnover, CFO board membership
JEL Classification: G32, G34
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