CEO Stock Option Awards and Regulation Changes
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Accounting and MIS Honors Theses; 2011
In 2003, both the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ enacted changes to the requirements regarding listed companies and their Board of Directors composition. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of those changes, specifically in relation to CEO compensation and compensation committees. Prior to the regulation changes, Yermack  explored the topic of CEOs manipulating the timing of their stock option awards using their influence over their compensation committees. When Yermack originally conducted his study, regulations regarding Board of Directors composition were far more relaxed, and CEOs could sit on their own compensation committees. In my research, I look at the same timing issues Yermack studied, but for companies at a post-regulation change date. Specifically, I calculate the abnormal returns of stock returns of Fortune 500 companies and compare the timing of certain fluctuations in the stock values with the award date of CEO stock options. Furthermore, I consider the differences between the pre-change and post-change values to analyze the control effects the regulation changes had on CEO stock option awards. Through this study I consider whether the NYSE and NASDAQ regulation changes provided controls for the CEOs and prevented further manipulation of the CEO stock option award timing. With corporate governance at the forefront of many discussions due to the current financial crisis, this research should shed some light on what influence upper-level management still has on its own compensation.