New evidence on what happens to CEOs after they retire

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I analyze directorships held by CEOs who retired during the periods 1989-1993, 1995-1999 (before the Sarbanes-Oxley Act) and 2001-2005 (after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act). My results suggest that retired CEOs became less popular on boards after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition, although pre-retirement accounting performance helps explain the number of outside directorships a retired CEO held in the 1989-1993 sample, as Brickley et al. (1999) have found, it does not explain this number for the 1995-1999 sample and 2001-2005 sample. Third, a company's stock performance during a CEO's tenure is negatively related to the number of outside directorships only in the 2001-2005 sample. Fourth, the number of outside directorships is positively correlated with the size of a retired CEO's original firm before the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but this is not the case after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Finally, if retired CEOs worked in regulated industries, their probability of serving at least one outside directorship 2. years after retirement falls by 21% in the 1989-1993 sample. However, this negative effect is marginally significant in the 1995-1999 sample, and vanishes in the 2001-2005 sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)474-482
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2011 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Accounting performance
  • Boards of directors
  • Corporate governance
  • Deregulation
  • Professional labor market
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act


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