CEO Compensation in Financially Distressed Firms: An Empirical Analysis

  • Author(s): STUART C. GILSON, MICHAEL R. VETSUYPENS
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 425-458
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1993.tb04722.x

ABSTRACT

This paper studies senior management compensation policy in 77 publicly traded firms that filed for bankruptcy or privately restructured their debt during 1981 to 1987. Almost one‐third of all CEOs are replaced, and those who keep their jobs often experience large salary and bonus reductions. Newly appointed CEOs with ties to previous management are typically paid 35% less than the CEOs they replace. In contrast, outside replacement CEOs are typically paid 36% more than their predecessors, and are often compensated with stock options. On average, CEO wealth is significantly related to shareholder wealth after firms renegotiate their debt contracts. However, managers' compensation is sometimes explicitly tied to the value of creditors' claims.

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