Does CFO Board Membership Benefit Shareholders? The Case of Corporate Acquisitions

Zhong Chen, Zicheng Lei, and Chunling Xia

♦ We investigate whether CFOs serving on U.S. corporate boards benefit shareholders in M&A transactions. We find that acquisitions made by firms with CFOs on boards have significantly better acquirer announcement returns. This is due to the CFO directors’ ability to select targets with better strategic and financial fit. CFO board membership can create shareholder value if there are effective governance regimes restraining managerial entrenchment and CFOs’ interests are closely aligned with those of shareholders through equity ownership. Furthermore, sitting on boards enables CFOs to secure more and cheaper financing for their acquisitions.

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