Topic: Older and Wiser, or Too Old to Govern?
Speaker: Fei Xie, Associate Professor, University of Delaware
Date: March 28th (Wednesday)
Location: Building 4, Room 101
The median age of independent directors at large U.S. public corporations increased from 60 to 64 during the period of 1998-2014. We investigate the determinants and consequences of this boardroom aging phenomenon. We find substantial cross-industry and cross-firm variations in the percentage of older independent directors on boards. Our analysis indicates both monitoring deficiencies and advising benefits associated with older independent directors. These directors are more likely to miss board meetings and less involved with major board committees. Their presence on corporate boards is associated with higher CEO compensation, poorer financial disclosure quality, lower total payouts, worse acquisition decisions, and a lower CEO turnover-performance sensitivity. On average, a greater representation of older independent directors on corporate boards is related to lower firm performance, but this relation becomes insignificant or sometimes even positive for firms with greater needs for board advising. Finally, we find that investors react negatively to firm appointments of older independent directors and company policy changes that increase the mandatory retirement age of directors.
About the speaker:
Dr. Fei Xie is Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Delaware. He has a bachelor degree in Finance from Tsinghua University and a Ph.D. degree in Finance from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Xie’s primary research areas are corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions, but he also conducts research on a number of other topics, including securities issuance, venture capital, social trust, corporate innovation, corporate disclosure, sell-side analysts, and mutual funds. Several of his papers on mergers and acquisitions, takeover defenses, and boards of directors are among the most highly cited work in the respective fields. His research has also been featured or cited in the Wall Street Journal, Directors & Boards, CFA Digest, The Financial (Mexico), and Yicai (China).