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Keywords:

  • board of directors;
  • board overlap;
  • board composition;
  • firm value

We examine the board overlap among firms listed in Switzerland. Collusion, managerial entrenchment, and financial participation cannot explain it. The overlap appears to be induced by banks and by the accumulation of seats by the most popular directors. We also document that seat accumulation is negatively related to firm value, possibly because of the conflicts of interest that multiple directorships induce and the time constraints directors face. Contrary to popular beliefs, however, the directors of traded firms do not generally hold more than one mandate in other traded firms. They do hold multiple seats in non-traded firms.