Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Business Administration

First Advisor

McNutt, Jamie

Abstract

Compensation systems are designed by boards of directors to encourage manager performance. Severance packages are intended to provide insurance for the CEO's human value. Frequently, however, severance packages are increased upon termination by boards of directors at will. These non-contractual severance payments are called discretionary severance pay. This study investigates discretionary severance pay at financial institutions surrounding the financial crisis. Financial institutions are of particular interest as they faced unique regulations limiting the amount of severance payable to departing CEOs. There is evidence that the boards of directors engaged in regulatory arbitrage by increasing payments for the consulting and non-compete component of severance pay and decreasing payments for other components of discretionary severance pay.

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