Article | Review of Financial Studies | December 2009

Empire-Building or Bridge-Building? Evidence from New CEOs' Internal Capital Allocation Decisions

by Yuhai Xuan

Abstract

This article investigates how the job histories of CEOs influence their capital allocation decisions when they preside over multi-divisional firms. I find that, after CEO turnover, divisions not previously affiliated with the new CEO receive significantly more capital expenditures than divisions through which the new CEO has advanced. The pattern of reverse-favoritism in capital allocation is more pronounced if the new CEO has less authority or if the unaffiliated divisions have more bargaining power. I find evidence that having a specialist CEO negatively affects segment investment efficiency. The results suggest that new specialist CEOs use the capital budget as a bridge-building tool to elicit cooperation from powerful divisional managers in previously unaffiliated divisions.

Keywords: Business Divisions; Decision Choices and Conditions; Capital Budgeting; Financial Management; Managerial Roles; Resource Allocation;

Citation:

Xuan, Yuhai. "Empire-Building or Bridge-Building? Evidence from New CEOs' Internal Capital Allocation Decisions." Review of Financial Studies 22, no. 12 (December 2009): 4919–4948. (Online Appendix.)