• management turnover;
  • corporate governance;
  • ownership structure;
  • corporate control

The results of this paper reveal a significantly negative relationship between the equity stake owned by a senior executive and the likelihood that this executive will be removed from office. We also establish the existence of a strong positive relationship between poor company performance and the likelihood that the top managers responsible will be forced out of their firms; this forced departure only tends to occur when the managers’ stake in the firm is less than 1%; as the level of ownership rises, managers become increasingly entrenched in their posts. The stock market reaction to management change is greatest (a) when the departure is unexpected and (b) when the dismissed executive owns more than 5% of the equity of his company. This study also examines the influence of other aspects of ownership structure and board composition upon the likelihood of a top executive dismissal.