Does CEO Succession Planning (Disclosure) Create Shareholder Value?

John J. McConnell and Qianru Qi

Average cumulative abnormal returns around proxy statements containing “in-depth” disclosures of planning for CEO succession are significantly positive indicating that succession planning is a value-added undertaking. Exploiting a quasi-natural experiment based on a 2009 SEC ruling that induced more succession planning disclosures, we find that succession planning is not value-adding for all firms. Rather, succession planning is value-enhancing for larger, more complex, and more stable firms. Importantly, CEO succession planning appears to be value reducing for smaller, simpler, less stable firms.