Associate Professor of Strategy
CEO Succession; Turnaround Situations; Executive Fit; Postsuccession Performance; Corporate Governance; Board Process and Remuneration at the Top ;
JOURNAL ARTICLE | Organization Science | 23 | January 2012
CEO Replacement in Turnaround Situations: Executive (Mis)fit and Its Performance Implications
Countering the widely held view that chief executive officer (CEO) succession is generally beneficial in turnaround situations, the authors adopt an executive fit/refit logic, proposing that the implications of CEO replacement depend integrally on the incumbent’s degree of misfit and the successor’s degree of fit to the contextual conditions at hand.Drawing from prior turnaround research, we identify several prominent forms of CEO fit/misfit that are especially germane to troubled firms. In testing our hypotheses, we find substantial support for the fit/refit theory: troubled companies have substantially better performance to the extent that they replace incumbents who are poorly suited to the conditions at hand and when they appoint new CEOs who are well matched to those conditions.Further reaffirming the fit/refit model, we find that CEO replacement per se has no general effect on the improvement of troubled firms.