We show that board tenure exhibits an inverted U‐shaped relation with firm value and accounting performance.

The quality of corporate decisions, such as M&A, financial reporting quality, and CEO compensation, also has a quadratic relation with board tenure.

Our results are consistent with the interpretation that directors’ on‐the‐job learning improves firm value up to a threshold, at which point entrenchment dominates and firm performance suffers.

To address endogeneity concerns, we use a sample of firms in which an outside director suffered a sudden death and find that sudden deaths that move board tenure away from (toward) the empirically observed optimum level in the cross‐section are associated with negative (positive) announcement returns.

The quality of corporate decisions also follows an inverted U‐shaped pattern in a sample of firms affected by the death of a director.

By: Sterling Huang (Singapore Management University – School of Accountancy) and Gilles Hilary (Georgetown University – Department of Accounting and Business Law)

See the Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 56, No. 4, 2018, here (only for subscribers)

An earlier HAL working paper can be found here