It is widely believed that the ideal board in corporations is composed almost entirely of independent (outside) directors. In contrast, this paper shows that some lack of board independence can be in the interest of shareholders. This follows because a lack of board independence serves as a substitute for commitment. Boards that are dependent on the incumbent CEO adopt a less aggressive CEO replacement rule than independent boards. While this behavior is inefficient ex post, it has positive ex ante incentive effects. The model suggests that independent boards (dependent boards) are most valuable to shareholders if the problem of providing appropriate incentives to the CEO is weak (severe).
Corporate Governance Board Independence Severance Pay CEO Turnover Incentive Compensation