University of Alabama Led Study Finds Gender Bias in Dismissal Rates of Corporate CEOs

A new study led by Vishal Gupta, an associate professor in the College of Business at the University of Alabama, found that women CEOs were 45 percent more likely to be fired than their male peers. This is true, according to the research, even when women have produced positive financial results for their firms.

Researchers conducted an analysis of the hiring and firing decisions of publicly traded firms between 2000 and 2014. They used press releases, media reports, the age of the CEO, and continued affiliation with the company to determine if the CEO had been fired or left voluntarily.

“The results of this study point to the extra pressure and scrutiny directed at women in senior leadership positions relative to their male counterparts,” Dr. Gupta said. “This is problematic because women face difficult barriers and obstacles in breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, but they also seem to continue to face additional challenges even after reaching the top of the corporate hierarchy.”

Sandra Mortal, an associate professor at the University of Alabama and a co-author of the study added that “dismissing the CEO is usually viewed as evidence of good corporate governance as it suggests that the board is taking its monitoring role seriously, however our research reveals there are invisible, but serious, gender biases in how the board evaluates CEOs and its decision to retain or fire particular CEOs.”

Dr. Mortal is a graduate of the Catholic University of Portugal, where she majored in finance. She holds an MBA from the University of Central Florida, and a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Georgia.

The full study, “You’re Fired! Gender Disparities in CEO Dismissal,” was published on the website of the Journal of Management. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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