Strategy & Business Policy Department
1, rue de la Libération
78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex
Ph.D. in Management
University of Mannheim
M.Sc. in Business Administration
Humboldt University Berlin
M.A. in Comparative Business Economics
University College London
Welcome to my page.
I am an Assistant Professor at the Strategy & Business Policy Department at HEC Paris since March 2018. Before, I have been a faculty member at Copenhagen Business School and a visiting scholar at INSEAD, Kellogg School of Management, the University of Antwerp and at the Stern School of Business. On my site, you will find information about me and my research. Feel free to contact me.
Thanks for visiting!
My research focus is on topics in, and the intersection of, corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR). I study these topics along three lines of inquiry.
First, I am interested in the drivers of media disapproval of CEO overcompensation, how firms’ prosocial activities affect media disapproval, and, in turn, which subset of firms reacts to being targeted. I am also interested in CEOs’ reactions to their being publicly criticized and the consequences of disapproval on the future career prospects of targeted firms’ members of the board of directors. Second, I analyze how the characteristics and values of CEOs affect firm level outcomes such as corporate misconduct or the adoption of prosocial practices, as well as how demographic minority status affects labor-market outcomes for directors after occurrences of financial fraud. Third, I investigate the antecedents of superior firm performance on CSR. Within this area, I am interested in topics that include how much of the total variance in CSR can be attributed to CEOs, specific drivers of CSR such as firms’ prior financial performance, and the threat for firms of being attacked by short sellers.
Below, you find further information about some of my research.
Scholars have found consistent evidence that directors who served on boards of firms accused of misconduct face reputational penalties in the director labor market. While this is often interpreted in terms of an ex post settling-up process that penalizes directors for failing in their role as monitors of management, the fundamentally social basis of the director labor markets suggests that the ex post settling-up process may also incorporate a resource-provisioning role for directors as conferrers of legitimacy. We analyze how evolving social norms that aim to redress the longstanding underrepresentation of female and ethnic minority directors may lessen—for these sought-after directors—the penalties typically imposed by the labor market in the aftermath of corporate misconduct. Using a proprietary dataset on financial misconduct and directors’ demographic characteristics, we find strong support for our hypotheses regarding a possible “reputational immunity” effect. We also provide supplementary analyses demonstrating the specific mechanisms underlying our predictions, and establishing the robustness of our results to a variety of alternative explanations. We discuss the implications of our theoretical perspective and empirical findings for future research on corporate governance, corporate misconduct, and the possible duality of minority status as it relates to discriminatory outcomes in modern labor markets.
Paywall free version on ResearchGate
Feigenbaum Best Paper Award (Nominee), Israel Strategy Conference 2017
Best Conference Paper Award (Finalist with Honorable Mention), SMS 2017
Best Paper Award (Honorable Mention), Strategic Leadership & Governance IG, SMS 2017
with Irmela Koch-Bayram. Strategic Management Journal, 2018, Vol. 39, No. 11, pp: 2943 – 2964.
We examine the influence of CEOs’ military background on financial misconduct using two distinctive datasets. First, we make use of accounting and auditing enforcement releases (AAER) issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which contain intentional and substantial cases of financial fraud. Second, we use a dataset of “lucky grants,” which provide a measure of the likelihood of grant dates of CEOs’ stock options having been manipulated. Results for both datasets indicate that CEOs who served in the military are less inclined to be involved in fraudulent financial reporting and to backdate stock options. In addition, we find that these relationships are moderated by board oversight (CEO duality and independent directors in the board).
We draw on the signaling and infomediary literatures to examine how media evaluations of CEO overcompensation (a negative cue associated with selfishness and greed) are affected by the presence of corporate philanthropy (a positive cue associated with altruism and generosity). In line with our theory on signal incongruence, we find that firms engaged in philanthropy receive more media disapproval for overpaying their CEOs, but they are also more likely to decrease CEO overcompensation as a response. Our study contributes to the signaling literature by theorizing about signal incongruence, and to infomediary and corporate governance research by showing that media disapproval can lead to lower executive compensation. We also reconcile two conflicting views on firm prosocial behavior by showing that, in the presence of incongruent cues, philanthropy can simultaneously enhance and damage media evaluations of firms. Taken together, these findings shed new light on the media as agents of external corporate governance for firms and open new avenues for research on executive compensation.
Paywall free version on ResearchGate or SSRN
Media Coverage: Forbes.com, HEC Knowledge, INSEAD Knowledge
Feigenbaum Best Paper Award (Nominee), Israel Strategy Conference 2015
Best Paper Award (Nominee), International Corporate Governance Society 2015
Best Empirical Paper on Environmental and Social Practice (Runner-up), OMT Division, AoM 2015
Best Paper Award (Winner), General Track, Strategic Management SIG, EURAM 2015
Best Paper Award (Winner), Strategic Management SIG, EURAM 2015
with Kristian Mehlsen. European Journal of International Management, 2016, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp: 78 - 94.
In this paper, we combine the concepts of location, liability of foreignness (LoF), and their relation to factors that drive multinational enterprises (MNEs) towards, or away from, global cities. We argue that three interrelated characteristics of global cities – cosmopolitanism, availability of advanced producer services, and interconnectedness – help MNEs to overcome the liability of foreignness. We operationalise liability of foreignness as institutional distance and analyse its influence on the worldwide location of a large sample of subsidiaries of Nordic and Japanese MNEs. Our results indicate that MNEs have a stronger propensity to locate in global cities than in metropolitan or peripheral areas, and that these locational choices are affected by institutional distance and industrial characteristics. The results provide empirical support for our argument that locating in a global city can reduce the liability of foreignness suffered by MNEs, and that global cities play a central role in the process of globalisation.
Best Paper Award (Nominee), 12. Workshop on International Management 2014
How much of the total variance in corporate social performance (CSP) is explained by the CEO effect? To answer this question, we apply the novel ‘CEO in context’ (CiC) variance partitioning technique to two of the most widely used CSP datasets, KLD and Asset4. The CiC technique makes it possible to distinguish the amount of variance in CSP explained by CEOs from that of contextual factors related to the industry or firm. We find that firms and CEOs explain the majority of variation in CSP. The impact of CEOs is consistent between 27.9 percent and 28.0 percent and, when different subcategories of CSP are estimated individually, remarkably stable. The CEO effect is smaller for corporate social irresponsibility than it is for corporate social responsibility.
with Steffen Brenner
Information barriers typically separate the private spheres of executives from their organizational lives, allowing executives to make controversial decisions at their firms while escaping the attention from individuals outside the organization. Against this backdrop, the news media eliminating informational barriers may serve an important social function by integrating both spheres. We argue that the CEO’s response to media reporting about their controversial conduct in front of a mass audience may specifically originate from the revelation in the executives’ immediate social environment. We use the social-cognitive lens to hypothesize that executives under media scrutiny are more likely to correct controversial decisions if they hold salient identities prescribing moral behavior such as being a parent or a charitable activist. This holds because the real or imagined confrontation with individuals tied to these identities tends to activate moral cognitive frames and hence raises the salience of the moral aspects of the decision. We performed two studies to test under which conditions CEOs would be more willing to give up pay when media report negatively about their compensation. The first is an observational study analyzing a comprehensive hand-collected biographic data set measuring salient parent and charitable activist identities of U.S. CEOs matched to compensation, media, and other data. The second is an experimental survey study on a sample of executives and directors. Both studies provide support for our hypotheses on the parent identity and partial support for the charitable activist identity.
Best Paper Award (Nominee), International Corporate Governance Society 2015
with Vanya R. Rusinova
In this paper, we test for a causal relationship between short-selling and firms’ performance on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To establish causality, we use the exogenous variation in short-selling restrictions induced by the Pilot Program under Regulation SHO of 2004. The Pilot program decreased the costs of short-selling for randomly selected subset of firms which resulted in an increase in the threat of short-selling for these firms. Results from a sample of U.S. firms for the years 2002 - 2006 suggest that an increase in the likelihood of being subject to short-selling increases firm performance on CSR. We further test how the temporal orientation of firms’ institutional owners and different level of firms’ financing constraints moderate the relationship between short-selling and firm performance on CSR.
Winner of the 2019 People’s Choice Award, Alliance for Research in Corporate Sustainability Conference
Best Paper Proceedings, BPS Division, AoM 2019
Best Conference PhD Paper Award (Winner), SMS 2018
Best Conference Paper Award (Nominee), SMS 2018
with Vanya R. Rusinova
In this paper, we test for a causal relationship between improved access to finance and superior on corporate social responsibility (CSR). To establish causality, we make use of the exogenous variation in firm-level capital constraints induced by the passage of the American Jobs Creation Act (AJCA) of 2004 which provided a significant and one-off reduction in tax related costs to profits repatriated from foreign subsidiaries back to the U.S.-based parent firm. The tax cut lowered the cost of internal financing and thereby reduced the need for external sources of financing for the subset of firms with unrepatriated foreign earnings. Results from a sample of the largest U.S. firms between 2001 and 2007 provide causal evidence that better access to finance leads to higher performance on CSR. Further, we show that this increase cannot be explained by weak corporate governance but rather by firms' prior level of performance on CSR and CEOs' political ideology.
Best Conference Paper Award (Nominee), SMS 2016
Best Paper Proceedings, BPS Division, AoM 2016 (click)
Why do top executives differ in their values, and how is this heterogeneity reflected in organizational outcomes? To answer this question, we build on the dual aspect of an important CEO characteristic, namely age, to simultaneously examine how stable differences in values between executives and changes in values within executives over time affect firms’ social and environmental practices (SEPs). On the one hand, executives’ concern for stakeholders changes with age as they advance through their careers and thereby shift their priorities. On the other hand, age also reflects stable differences in values between adjacent birth cohorts who grew up in different historical periods. In this study, we integrate time-stable and time-variant perspectives on executives’ values by theorizing about how age simultaneously determines which SEPs initiatives CEOs prioritize more and the extent to which CEOs invest in SEPs. Our study provides important implications for research focused on the relationship between executives’ values and organizational outcomes. , Ifeng.com