The Cadbury Committee recommendations on corporate governance – a review of compliance and performance impacts

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Abstract

In December 1992, the Cadbury Committee published their Code of Best Practice. The recommendations, which largely reflected perceived best practice at the time, included separating the roles of CEO and chairman, having a minimum of three non-executive directors on the board and the formulation of audit committees. The Code also advocated that a more active role be taken by institutional investors in the promotion of good practice in corporate governance. This paper discusses how agency problems may be (partially) resolved by corporate governance, reviews the evidence on compliance with the Cadbury Code and examines the relationship between board structure and firm performance, looking for evidence that the Code has enhanced board performance. While there is no empirical evidence of an association between board structure and firm value, there is some evidence that compliance with the Cadbury recommendations enhances board oversight with respect to the manipulation of accounting numbers and the discipline of the top executive.

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