Earnings Management Surrounding CEO Turnover: Evidence from Korea
This article examines the empirical relation between CEO turnover and earnings management in Korea using a sample of 317 CEO turnovers and 634 non-turnover control firms during the period of 2001-2008. We classify CEO turnovers into four types depending on whether the departure of outgoing CEO is peaceful or forced and the incoming CEO is promoted from within or recruited from outside the firm. We measure earnings management by both discretionary accruals and real activities management. We also control for the potential endogeneity of CEO turnover using Heckman’s two-stage approach. After controlling for corporate financial performance and governance structure, we find upward earnings management by the departing CEO only when the departure is forced and the new CEO is an insider. In this case, the new CEO also engages in downward earnings management using both discretionary accruals and real activities management. We also find some evidence that the new CEO recruited from outside the firm manages discretionary accruals upward following the peaceful departure of predecessor. In all other types of CEO turnover, we do not find evidence of significant earnings management by either CEO.