The Effect of Founding Family Influence on Firm Value and Corporate Governance



We examined a sample of 120 Norwegian, founding family controlled and non-founding family controlled firms, to address two important research questions: (1) is founding family control associated with higher firm value; and (2) are there unique corporate governance conditions under which a founding family controlled firm can be more valuable? We find a positive association between founding family control and firm value for four alternative definitions of founding family control. We find that the association between founding family CEOs and firm value is stronger among younger firms, firms with smaller boards, and firms with a single class of shares. However, the impact of founding family directors on firm value is not affected by corporate governance conditions such as firm age, board independence, and number of share classes. We also find that the relation between founding family ownership and firm value is greater among older firms, firms with larger boards, and particularly when these firms have multiple classes of shares. Our results imply that founding family controlled firms are more valuable and governed differently than firms without such influence. Furthermore, our results also suggest that founding family CEOs can enhance firm performance when family influence does not create shareholder entrenchment or when their cash flow rights are more aligned with their control rights.