Assistant Professor
Strategy & Business Policy Department
HEC Paris

1, rue de la Libération
78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex

E-mail (click)


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 Antwerp and at 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), broadly defined. 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.

Signal incongruence and its consequences: A study of media disapproval and CEO over-compensation

with Jean-Philippe Vergne and Steffen Brenner. Organization Science (forthcoming).

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.

Global cities and liability of foreignness

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.

[Full title withheld for blind review]

with Irmela Koch

We combine upper echelon and agency theory to examine the influence of CEOs’ military background and board composition on financial misconduct. We use two distinctive measures of misconduct. First, we make use of accounting and auditing enforcement releases (AAER) issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that contain intentional and material substantial cases of financial fraud. Second, we use “lucky grants,” which provide a measure of the likelihood of manipulated grant dates of CEOs stock options. Results 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 this relationship is moderated by board composition (CEO duality and independent directors in the board).

[Full title withheld for blind review]

with Ivana Naumovska and Edward J. Zajac

Due to accumulating evidence suggesting that female and ethnic minority directors endure inequality and discrimination in the boardroom, recent years have seen the extensive adoption of board diversity goals. We suggest that this salutary effort has had an unintended outcome; namely, that the recognition of minority directors status as valuable asset has affected the labor market for directors to the point that women and ethnic minorities serving on boards of firms that engaged in corporate crime will experience greater reputations immunity, relative to white men. That is, women and ethnic minorities who had served on boards of firms that engaged in corporate crime will experience less severe penalties on the labor market for directors. Using a comprehensive dataset consisting of 2030 directors associated with 197 cases of accounting fraud (i.e., cooking the books), we find evidence consistent with our predictions. We discuss the implications of our perspective and findings in terms of the duality of minority status as it relates to discriminatory outcomes in modern labor markets.

[Full title withheld for blind review]

with Miha Sajko and Christophe Boone

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.

Short-selling and Firm Performance on Corporate Social ResponsibilitY: Causal Evidence from a Natural Experiment

with Vanya R. Rusinova and Tima Bansal

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.

Access to finance and corporate social responsibility: causal Evidence from a Natural Experiment

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.

A short version (click) appeared in the Best Paper Proceedings, Academy of Management Meeting (BPS Division), 2016.