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Stanford Closer Look Series

The Stanford Closer Look series is a collection of short studies through which we explore topics, issues, and controversies in corporate governance. In each study, we take a targeted look at a specific issue and explain why it is important.

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan, Youfei Xiao
Stanford Closer Look Series. July

Publication commas

2015

In recent years, companies have begun to voluntarily disclose alternative measures of CEO compensation. These figures differ — sometimes significantly — from those reported in the summary compensation tables of...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2015

Corporate leaders pay considerable attention to the strategy and finances of their organizations but often less attention to organizational features that impact whether their strategy is successful, including the decision-making...

Nicholas E. Donatiello, David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2015

For-profit and nonprofit organizations exist for different reasons: for-profits to generate a return on investment for shareholders, and nonprofits to pursue charitable and social activities unrelated to commerce. The obligations...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. February

Publication commas

2015

Institutional investors are highly dissatisfied with the quality of information that they receive about corporate governance policies and practices in the annual proxy. Across the board, they want proxies to...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan, Christina Zhu
Stanford Closer Look Series. December

Publication commas

2014

Corporate governance experts pay considerable attention to the composition of the full board of directors. And yet, much of the substantive work of the board is carried out by committee....

David F. Larcker, Stephen A. Miles, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. November

Publication commas

2014

The shareholders of public corporations have considerable interest in the choice of individual to serve as CEO of their company. They want to be assured that the company has a...

David F. Larcker, Gaizka Ormazabal, Brian Tayan, Daniel J. Taylor
Stanford Closer Look Series. September

Publication commas

2014

This Closer Look illustrates the relation between executive compensation and organizational risk through the context of the financial crisis of 2008. We demonstrate that the incentives that bankers had to...

Anne Beyer, David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. July

Publication commas

2014

Corporations dedicate significant time to managing their shareholder base. Does the composition of a company’s shareholder base really impact corporate decision making and stock-market value?

David F. Larcker, Sarah M. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2014

In March 2013, Lululemon Athletica removed its inventory of women’s black yoga pants from its stores because recent shipments of the product were “too sheer.”

For a company reliant on...

David F. Larcker, Sarah M Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2014

On March 5, biotechnology company Chimerix refused to provide a potentially life-saving drug to 7-year old Josh Hardy who was battling cancer. The drug had not yet received FDA approval,...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. March

Publication commas

2014

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger is well known as the partner of CEO Warren Buffett and also for his advocacy of “multi-disciplinary thinking” — the application of fundamental concepts...

David F. Larcker, Stephen A. Miles, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. March

Publication commas

2014

Many believe that the selection of the CEO is the most important decision that a board can make. Why aren’t more companies prepared for a change at the top?...

David F. Larcker, Allan McCall, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. October

Publication commas

2013

There are at least three potential ways in which a CEO divorce might impact a corporation and its shareholders:

  1. It might reduce the executive’s control or influence over the
  2. ...
David F. Larcker, Ian D. Gow, Allan McCall, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. October

Publication commas

2013

Proxy advisory firms have long been known to influence the voting decisions of institutional investors. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests that they also influence company decisions in equity...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. September

Publication commas

2013

We examine the biographies and professional experiences of the female directors of Fortune 250 companies. How have pathways for women changed? Are the opportunities and obstacles today the same or...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. July

Publication commas

2013

High-trust organizations are characterized by lower bureaucracy, simpler procedures, and higher productivity. Would shareholders be better off if companies had fewer controls and instead spent more time fostering trust?

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. May

Publication commas

2013

All companies face challenges designing a governance system that works best for their particular situation and structure. Even the owners of privately held companies sometimes struggle with issues of separation...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. March

Publication commas

2013

Over the last few decades, researchers have taken a thorough and critical look at corporate governance from various perspectives. For the most part, they have found that structural features of...

David F. Larcker, Allan McCall, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. February

Publication commas

2013

Proxy advisory firms are independent, for-profit consulting companies that provide voting recommendations to individual and institutional investors. Research shows that these firms have significant influence on voting outcomes. Given this...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. December

Publication commas

2012

Union pension funds are active in the proxy process, sponsoring approximately one-third of shareholder proposals each year. How do union pension funds determine which positions to advocate and which companies...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. November

Publication commas

2012

Americans tend to admire powerful leaders. However, it is not clear the extent to which having a powerful CEO is beneficial to an organization. How much power is too much...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. November

Publication commas

2012

Recently, shareholder groups have sued companies for inadequate disclosure in the annual proxy. They allege that companies provide insufficient disclosure to determine how to vote on “say on pay.” If...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. October

Publication commas

2012

The responsibility of corporate monitors is to safeguard assets and reduce agency costs. Should monitors be paid bonuses? If so, what form should they take and what performance targets should...

David F. Larcker, Allan McCall, Gaizka Ormazabal, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2012

The public believes that “say on pay” reduces executive compensation and leads to improved compensation practices. The research evidence, however, shows this is not the case. Is it time to...

David F. Larcker, Sarah M Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2012

Given the pervasiveness of social media, should the board of directors pay closer attention to the information exchanged on these sites? Can this information be used to improve oversight and...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. March

Publication commas

2012

The sudden death of a CEO can provide insight into the quality of succession planning at a company. Why don’t more companies have a truly operational plan in place?...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. January

Publication commas

2012

The topic of executive compensation elicits strong emotions but somewhat less critical analysis. How much value creation should be attributable to the efforts of the CEO? What percent of this...

David F. Larcker, Allan McCall, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. December

Publication commas

2011

Executive compensation figures are not what they seem. Executive pay packages contain a diverse mix of incentives whose ultimate value is often quite different from their expected value. Why don’t...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. October

Publication commas

2011

Hewlett-Packard has faced numerous leadership and strategic changes over the last twelve years. It has also been involved in more than its fair share of controversies. Are these signs of...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. September

Publication commas

2011

Recent experience suggests that many CEOs and directors of failed companies are able to obtain or retain directorships at other companies after their departure. Should this be a concern for...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. September

Publication commas

2011

In this fictitious tale, we apply the governance provisions of Dodd-Frank to the world of college football. If they would not work in that setting, should we expect them to...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. August

Publication commas

2011

By many measures, current CEOs should be the best candidates to serve on the board of directors. However, recent survey evidence suggests this may not be the case. Should companies...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2011

This case examines seven commonly accepted myths about corporate governance. How can we expect managerial behavior and firm performance to improve, if practitioners continue to rely on myths rather than...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2011

This case examines seven commonly accepted myths about executive compensation. Public perception is that executives are overpaid and that compensation contracts are not structured in the best interest of shareholders....

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. May

Publication commas

2011

This case study examines prominent features of the governance system of Tesla Motors, as it has evolved from inception to IPO. Now that Tesla is public, how is its governance...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2011

The recommendations of Institutional Shareholder Services are influential in the proxy voting process, particularly in matters relating to equity compensation and exchange offers. What evidence is there that these recommendations...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. April

Publication commas

2011

In 2011, David Sokol, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway’s energy subsidiary, purchased $10 million of Lubrizol stock days before recommending that Berkshire Hathaway acquire the firm. Did Sokol’s actions reflect a...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. January

Publication commas

2011

In recent years, much attention has been paid to CEO succession planning as a risk management issue, particularly at companies whose CEOs are experiencing health issues. How much information should...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. October

Publication commas

2010

Some executives who accumulate a substantial ownership position in the company hedge or pledge their shares to limit their financial risk. Should the board of directors allow this to occur?

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. September

Publication commas

2010

In recent years, there has been considerable debate as to whether CEO compensation is actually correlated with performance in U.S. companies. Why don’t shareholders and stakeholders examine the relation between...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. August

Publication commas

2010

A director’s social and professional network contributes many positive benefits that increase shareholder value. Why isn’t more attention paid to the relation between personal networks and governance quality?...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. August

Publication commas

2010

In recent years, there has been a proliferation of non-GAAP metrics to supplement audited financial statements. Are these adjustments being made for the benefit of shareholders, or to distort financial...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. July

Publication commas

2010

Linguists and psychologists have developed techniques to identify deceptive language and behavior. Why don’t shareholders use these same techniques to evaluate the truthfulness of management and detect financial manipulation?...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. July

Publication commas

2010

In recent years, there has been considerable controversy about whether shareholders should be able to nominate candidates to serve on the board of directors. What impact would proxy access have...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2010

Compensation and disclosure have grown very complex over time. Is this complexity necessary? Should it be simplified?

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2010

One of the most important decisions that a board of directors must make is the selection of the CEO. What type of disclosure can provide shareholders with insight into succession...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. June

Publication commas

2010

Experts place considerable emphasis on the board structure. Many boards now look indistinguishable, and yet can differ very much in terms of oversight quality. Has an emphasis on board structure...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. May

Publication commas

2010

The governance structure of Berkshire Hathaway is remarkably different from that of other corporations, and most of its features do not conform to the “best practices” recommended by experts. Why...

David F. Larcker, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. May

Publication commas

2010

In recent years, RiskMetrics has played an influential role in the proxy voting process. Several companies, however, are critical of the methodology it uses to inform its recommendations, particularly with...