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Executive pay and performance: the moderating effect of CEO power and governance structure

Ntim, CG and Lindop, S and Thomas, DA and Abdou, H and Opong, KK (2017) Executive pay and performance: the moderating effect of CEO power and governance structure. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. ISSN 0958-5192

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Abstract

This paper examines the crucial question of whether chief executive officer (CEO) power and corporate governance (CG) structure can moderate the pay-for-performance sensitivity (PPS) using a large up-to-date South African data-set. Our findings are threefold. First, when direct links between executive pay and performance are examined, we find a positive, but relatively small PPS. Second, our results show that in a context of concentrated ownership and weak board structures; the second-tier agency conflict (director monitoring power and opportunism) is stronger than the first-tier agency problem (CEO power and self-interest). Third, additional analysis suggests that CEO power and CG structure have a moderating effect on the PPS. Specifically, we find that the PPS is higher in firms with more reputable, founding and shareholding CEOs, higher ownership by directors and institutions, and independent nomination and remuneration committees, but lower in firms with larger boards, more powerful and long-tenured CEOs. Overall, our evidence sheds new important theoretical and empirical insights on explaining the PPS with specific focus on the predictions of the optimal contracting and managerial power hypotheses. The findings are generally robust across a raft of econometric models that control for different types of endogeneities, pay, and performance proxies.

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