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University of Southern California

1. Tian, Jie. CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?.

Degree: PhD, Business Administration, 2008, University of Southern California

Previous studies have emphasized that independent boards of directors with formal power and financial incentives should be an effective monitoring mechanism. Research on board independence, however, has largely overlooked the possibility that independent directors may differ from one another in terms of work experience that they have acquired from their primary occupations and from serving on the focal firm s board of directors. This dissertation research aims to examine the effects of board experience at multiple levels (task, job, team, firm, and industry) on firm performance in the context of CEO selection  – one of the most important decisions that a board of directors makes. Drawing upon the resource-based view of the firm, learning theory, and the upper echelon perspective, I argue that boards of directors are likely to make better CEO selection decisions when independent directors have worked as CEOs themselves and have experience of working together on the focal firm s board. Experience of working in the firm s primary industry and experience with the task of hiring a CEO also help improve board effectiveness in CEO selection. Effects of board experience were examined in a sample of 242 new CEO appointments that occurred in 226 large, publicly traded U.S. manufacturing firms from 1999 to 2003. I examined both stock price reactions to the announcements of new CEO selection and post-succession accounting performance of the firm. Results show that, after controlling for the effects of board independence, succession event characteristics, and other organizational / environmental factors, board experience explained a substantial proportion of variances in stock and accounting performance. Moreover, industry instability and firm performance prior to CEO succession were found to moderate the effects of various types of board experience.; Overall, board experience had a positive impact not only on stock market investors' expectations for future firm value but also on realized post-succession firm performance. In response to the increasing attention to board accountability for significant organizational decisions, this study shows that context-specific, history-dependent work experience of directors is the key to understanding board effectiveness in CEO selection. The findings also have important implications for director selection practices. Advisors/Committee Members: Rajagopalan, Nandini (Committee Chair), Cummings, Tom G. (Committee Member), Mayer, Kyle (Committee Member), Hsiao, Cheng (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: CEO succession; board of directors; corporate governance; resource-based view; learning; experience

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APA (6th Edition):

Tian, J. (2008). CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Tian, Jie. “CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?.” 2008. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed January 20, 2021.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Tian, Jie. “CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?.” 2008. Web. 20 Jan 2021.


Tian J. CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2008. [cited 2021 Jan 20]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Tian J. CEO selection performance: does board experience matter?. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2008. Available from: