NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Urs Peyer

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Working Papers

December 2007CEO Centrality
with Lucian A. Bebchuk, Martijn Cremers: w13701
We investigate the relationship between CEO centrality -- the relative importance of the CEO within the top executive team in terms of ability, contribution, or power -- and the value and behavior of public firms. Our proxy for CEO centrality is the fraction of the top-five compensation captured by the CEO. We find that CEO centrality is negatively associated with firm value (as measured by industry-adjusted Tobin's Q). Greater CEO centrality is also correlated with (i) lower (industry-adjusted) accounting profitability, (ii) lower stock returns accompanying acquisitions announced by the firm and higher likelihood of a negative stock return accompanying such announcements, (iii) higher odds of the CEO’s receiving a “lucky” option grant at the lowest price of the month, (iv) greater tendenc...
December 2006Lucky Directors
with Lucian A. Bebchuk, Yaniv Grinstein: w12811
While prior empirical work and much public attention have focused on the opportunistic timing of executives' grants, we provide in this paper evidence that outside directors' option grants have also been favorably timed to an extent that cannot be fully explained by sheer luck. Examining events in which public firms granted options to outside directors during 1996-2005, we find that 9% were "lucky grant events" falling on days with a stock price equal to a monthly low. We estimate that about 800 lucky grant events owed their status to opportunistic timing, and that about 460 firms and 1400 outside directors were associated with grant events produced by such timing. There is evidence that the opportunistic timing of director grant events has been to a substantial extent the product of backd...
Lucky CEOs
with Lucian A. Bebchuk, Yaniv Grinstein: w12771
We study the relation between corporate governance and opportunistic timing of CEO option grants via backdating or otherwise. Our methodology focuses on how grant date prices rank within the price distribution of the grant month. During 1996-2005, about 12% of firms provided one or more lucky grant -- defined as grants given at the lowest price of the month -- due to opportunistic timing. Lucky grants were more likely when the board did not have a majority of independent directors and/or the CEO had longer tenure -- factors associated with increased influence of the CEO on pay-setting. We find no evidence that gains from manipulated grants served as a substitute for compensation paid through other sources; total reported compensation from such sources was higher in firms providing lucky gr...

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