Directors: Older and Wiser, or Too Old to Govern?

Directors: Older and Wiser, or Too Old to Govern?

Ronald Masulis, Cong Wang, Fei Xie, Shuran Zhang

Series number :

Serial Number: 

Date posted :

November 21 2018

Last revised :

June 10 2020
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  • boardroom aging • 
  • older directors • 
  • Board monitoring • 
  • board advising • 
  • agency problems

An unintended consequence of recent governance reforms in the U.S. is firms’ greater reliance on older director candidates, resulting in noticeable board aging. We investigate this phenomenon and its implications for corporate governance.

We document that older independent directors exhibit poor board meeting attendance, are less likely to serve on or chair key board committees, and receive less shareholder support in annual elections. We find that their presence is associated with weaker board oversight in acquisition decisions, CEO turnover, executive compensation, and financial reporting. However, they provide valuable advisory services when they have specialized experience and when managers have a greater need for board advice


Real name:
Cong Wang
Real name:
Research Member
University of Delaware, Lerner College of Business and Economics
Real name:
Shuran Zhang