Date of Conferral







Lilburn Hoehn


Executive replacements have historically created fluctuations in the market value of a company and precipitated inappropriate investor reaction. However, the direction and statistical significance of relationships between executive turnover, market value, financial risk, and investor reaction among a census of highly performing firms was previously unexplored. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of the relationship between CEO turnover and indicators of company performance. Theoretical foundation for this study was the efficient markets hypothesis. Hypotheses tests were designed to support an ex-post facto research methodology for pre-post comparison of volatility of financial metrics, which are indicators of market value (market value added), investor reaction (Tobin's q), risk (beta), executive performance (economic value added and return on assets), and turnover frequency given CEO succession. Statistically significant differences in firm risk emerged from comparisons of highly performing firms exemplified in the foundational leadership text Good to Great. Approximately 45 % of firms sampled did not experience volatility of financial metrics, which supported the presence of a leadership legacy, or strategic management behavior which minimized financial risk. Contrary to prior studies, financial metrics sampled within an interval immediately surrounding the succession event were less indicative of significant financial risk as compared to metrics sampled over the entire tenure of executives. Implications for positive social change include reducing investor risk in selection of equity holdings; capital fairly directed to entities results in benefits for society including job creation, economic stimulus, safer retirement accounts, and corporate sustainability.