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Appears in Collections:Accounting and Finance eTheses
Title: The Role of CEO compensation in the Cost of Debt, Expectations Management, and the Investment Policy of UK Firms
Author(s): Li, Hao
Supervisor(s): Veld-Merkoulova, Yulia
Kabir, Rezaul
Tabner, Isaac
Keywords: CEO Compensation
Cost of Debt
Expectations Management
Career Horizon
UK Firms
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2010
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In this thesis, I explore the topic of chief executive officer (CEO) compensation in UK publicly traded firms. My objective is threefold. First of all, I investigate debt-holders‟ reaction to CEO compensation in terms of the cost of debt financing. Secondly, I examine the possible link between CEO compensation and expectation management. Thirdly, I examine whether and how the interactive relation between CEO career horizon and compensation package affects a firm‟s research and development spending. Multiple regression is employed in this thesis to investigate the causal relationship between these above mentioned aspects I‟m interested (the cost of debt, expectation management and research and development spending) and CEO compensation. I consider all major compensation components for a typical CEO in UK publicly traded firms: defined benefit pension, bonus, restricted shares, traditional stock options and performance-vested stock options. The accumulated equity incentives, such as ownership, are also examined. My major findings are as follows. First of all, I find that an increase in defined benefit pension and bonus in CEO compensation are associated with a lower bond yield spread, while an increase in stock options and ownership intensifies it. Secondly, I document that CEO equity incentives that will be vested in the following year are positively associated with the probability of employing expectation management to meet or beat financial analysts‟ forecasts about a firm‟s reporting earnings. Thirdly, I demonstrate that older CEOs will not spend less in research and development expenditures in general. However, older CEOs with more defined benefit pensions and ownership are reluctant to engage in such an investment. iii My results generate several implications for CEO compensation research. First of all, I show that debt-holders rationally incorporate the information of CEO compensation about risk-taking and risk-avoiding incentives when pricing a firm‟s publicly traded debts. Secondly, I provide the evidence that CEO compensation motivates top managers to manipulate information disclosure by employing expectation management for personal gains. Thirdly, the joint influence of CEO career horizon and compensation package on a firm‟s research and development spending is highlighted. CEO compensation motivates a short-sighed and risk-averse investment policy when top managers have a short career horizon. The first novel contribution in this thesis is the coverage of CEO pension, which is overlooked by the most of previous literature on compensation studies. Secondly, I provide the evidence that the popularity of expectation management in the UK, which is well documented in the literature, can be partly explained by CEO compensation. Finally, the interactive relation between CEO compensation and career horizon on a firm‟s investment policy is re-examined. It provides further material in the debate of career horizon problem, which has no consensus in the previous literature. Overall, this thesis generates some empirical evidence about the influence of CEO compensation on managerial behaviour. Some adverse effects of CEO compensation highlighted in this thesis may help remuneration committee to design a better pay package for top managers in the future.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School
Accounting and Finance

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