CEO promotion, relative performance measures, and institutions in an emerging market: Evidence from China's listed state-owned enterprise

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Hu, F
Zhang, Y
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J.J. Choi, M.R. Powers and X.T. Zhang
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2016
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Abstract

Purpose: This paper investigates CEO turnover and the usefulness of relative performance evaluation (RPE) as a management incentive in an emerging economy lacking market-based competition.

Methodology/approach: In a sample of China’s listed state-owned enterprises (SOEs) from the period 2001 to 2005, we manually collect the data where a CEO has gone after being removed by reading the annual reports of the firms and searching the major news and business publications, and run OLS regressions to examine how various incentives provided by different CEO turnovers such as promotion, demotion, and rotation affect the firm performance.

Findings: We find that 41% of departing CEOs in SOEs is being promoted. The promotion is positively associated with preceding firm performance relative to peers in the same region and this association is more significant than that between the promotion and firm’s specific performance. Furthermore, the promotion outperforms other incentive schemes such as CEO demotions by 5–8% in terms of subsequent Tobin’s q in three years. These consequences persist in undeveloped regions where there are fewer firms listed on the stock market, a lower stock market capitalization, or a higher regional Herfindahl–Hirschman Index ( HHI ).

Research implications: The findings imply that promotion based on RPE provides an important incentive by creating competitions.

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The Political Economy of Chinese Finance
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Banking, finance and investment not elsewhere classified
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