Leadership structure and corporate governance in Switzerland

Schmid, Markus and Zimmermann, Heinz. (2008) Leadership structure and corporate governance in Switzerland. Journal of applied corporate finance, 20. pp. 109-120.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/dok/A5250411

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The question of whether the CEO should also serve as chairman of the board continues to be a controversial issue in corporate governance. While "agency cost" arguments would lead one to advocate separation of the top decision-making and control functions, there are efficiency and coordination arguments for vesting the powers of the CEO and chair in the same person. And helping to keep the controversy alive, the empirical evidence on U.S. companies is inconclusive, with no clear loss of value associated with having combined CEO/chairmen. The authors use their recent research on Swiss companies, for which separation of the CEO and chair has long been the rule, to shed light on whether one leadership structure clearly dominates. But like most previous studies of U.S. companies, the authors report no evidence of a systematic difference in valuation between companies with combined and those with dual leadership. The authors also investigated whether companies with CEO-chairmen use other governance mechanisms to counteract potential agency problems associated with giving the CEO effective control. Consistent with this hypothesis, the authors report that CEO/chairmen tend to have larger percentage ownership than CEOs who are not chairmen, but at the same time they find that the value of the firm appears to rise with increases in CEO equity holdings up to a certain point—around 40–50%— and then declines with further increases above that point. The suggestion here is that the potential for agency costs associated with combining the two leadership functions appears to be managed by providing larger—though not too large—equity incentives for CEO/chairmen. Finally, the authors investigated whether firm value is significantly related to firm-level corporate governance as measured by a broad survey-based index for a representative sample of Swiss firms. The results show a positive and significant relationship between the governance index and firm value—one that proves robust after controlling for a series of other governance mechanisms related to ownership structure and board characteristics as well as the possible "endogeneity" of these mechanisms.
Faculties and Departments:06 Faculty of Business and Economics > Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Professuren Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Finanzmarkttheorie (Zimmermann)
UniBasel Contributors:Zimmermann, Heinz
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Stern Stewart Management Services
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 07:53
Deposited On:22 Mar 2012 14:16

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