CEO’s Political Independence, Board Chair Separation, Executive’s Expertise, and Performance in State-Owned Enterprises

KDI Journal of Economic Policy. 2013;35(2):1-39 DOI 10.23895/kdijep.2013.35.2.1


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Journal Title: KDI Journal of Economic Policy

ISSN: 2586-2995 (Print); 2586-4130 (Online)

Publisher: Korea Development Institute

Society/Institution: Korea Development Institute

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Industries. Land use. Labor | Social Sciences: Economic theory. Demography

Country of publisher: Korea, Republic of

Language of fulltext: English, Korean

Full-text formats available: PDF, ePUB, XML



Yu, Seung won (Research Fellow, Yonsei Business Research Institute)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 12 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Considering the relationship between state-owned enterprise (SOE) CEOs and political circles, this study examines the performance impacts of CEO’s succession type, board chair separation, and industry expertise and finance expertise of CEOs and outside directors. I propose the definition of political independence in SOE CEOs based on the independence in appearance that might affect general people’s perception. It means that there are no relationships or circumstances that might affect SOE CEO’s judgment, activity, and report. The definition is able to overcome the limitations of the prior research that could not discover the CEOs who were affiliated to political circles because the research just distinguished the CEOs following their pre-jobs. This study focused on the performance impacts of political independence impaired CEO as well as the CEO’s impacts on the relationship between the performance and other corporate governance variables. I selected as dependent variables the average return on asset as operating income divided by total assets and the average customer satisfaction rate evaluated by Korean government during the first three years following the year of the events of explanatory variables. My theory and evidence from the various CEO’s personal background and financial information from SOEs in Lee Myung-bak Administration and Rho Moo-hyun Administration suggest the following important things. First, the analysis based on whether or not a SOE CEO keeps political independence shows that a political independence impaired CEO made a significantly negative impact on customer satisfaction rate. Second, the separation between a board chair and a CEO in SOEs introduced by Korean Act on Management of Public Institutions made a significantly positive impact on customer satisfaction rate. However, the positive impact of the board chair separation was removed in a political independence impaired CEO’s SOE. Third, outside director’s industry expertise made a significantly positive impact on return on asset. However, the positive impact of the outside director’s industry expertise was removed in a political independence impaired CEO’s SOE. Fourth, the comparison between Lee Myung-bak Administration and Roh Moo-hyun Administration on the corporate governance and performance of SOEs shows that the ratio of political independence impaired CEO was significantly higher in Lee Administration and the ratio of outside director’s industry expertise and finance expertise were respectively significantly higher in Roh Administration.