To get the best new CEO, must the old CEO go? Power distribution in external CEO successions


Department of Management, Wichita State University, Box 88, Wichita KS 67260, USA. E-mail:


When chief executive officers (CEOs) are replaced by external successors, they frequently retain high levels of power. We found that outgoing CEOs' announced post-succession involvement is negatively related to their successors' power. Additionally, we found that the magnitude of the stock market reaction to succession announcements is greater when the outgoing CEOs are allowed to continue to retain significant influence, and diminished when the new CEOs are awarded significant position power when they become CEO. These results suggest that to improve long-term performance, companies should keep outgoing CEOs around and not grant new CEOs too much power. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.