Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lucky CEOs

In this latest paper from Lucian Bebchuk, Yaniv Grinstein, and Urs Peyer, “Lucky CEOs” who do well with their stock grants apparently don’t have luck to thank for much of their monetary.

Rather, Bebchuk, Grinstein, and Peyer find that…

about 1150 lucky grants (roughly half of all lucky grants in our sample) owe their status to opportunistic timing rather than mere luck. This opportunistic timing was spread over a significant number of CEOs and firms. We estimate that about 850 CEOs (about 10% of all CEOs) and about 720 firms (about 12% of all firms) received or provided manipulated lucky grants. In addition, about 550 additional grants at the second lowest or third-lowest price of the month owe their status to manipulation.


At its core, this is a corporate governance issue. For example, tenure of the CEO matters as a characteristic correlated with lucky grants. As well, the level of independence on the board mattered as well.

Also, while Sarbanes-Oxley did not eliminate the occurrences of stock manipulation, the act did curtail its frequency.
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