Finance professor honored for study on ‘co-CEO’ phenomenon


February 22, 2012

Marks fifth best paper award for college over the past year


Matteo Arena, assistant professor of finance, has been honored with a Best Paper Award from The Financial Review for his study, “It Takes Two: The Incidence and Effectiveness of Co-CEOs.” The study, published in summer of 2011, examined the phenomenon of co-CEOs within publicly traded firms.

“Although shared executive leadership is not widespread, it occurs within some very prominent firms,” said Arena, who collaborated on the research with Stephen Ferris and Emre Unlu at the University of Missouri-Columbia and University of Nebraska-Lincoln, respectively. “We find that co-CEOs generally complement each other in terms of educational background or executive responsibilities.”

According to Arena, results showed that firms most likely to appoint co-CEOs have lower leverage, a more limited firm focus, less independent board structure, fewer advising directors, lower institutional ownership and greater levels of merger activity. The governance structure of co-CEO firms suggest that co-CEOships can serve as an alternative governance mechanism, with co-CEO mutual monitoring substituting for board or external monitoring and co-CEO complementary skills substituting for board advising, he added.

This is the fifth such award honoring academic researchers in the college over the past year. Associate Professor of Finance Anthony Pennington-Cross’ study on subprime mortgages received the Edwin S. Mills Best Paper in Real Estate Economics;  Assistant Professor of Finance Marcus Braga-Alves’ research on dividend policies in Brazil was honored by the Journal of Corporate Finance; Srinivas Durvasula and Steven Lysonski, professors of marketing, were honored with the 2011 Best Paper Award by the Journal of Consumer Marketing for their study on Chinese consumerism; and Qianhua Ling, assistant professor of accounting, received the outstanding research paper award from the American Accounting Association for her paper on CEO compensation.