You’re Fired! Gender Disparities in CEO Dismissal


CEO dismissals attract considerable attention, presumably because of the visibility, publicity, and intrigue that often surrounds the decision to fire the CEO. With the goal of advancing scholarly understanding of CEO dismissals, we examine whether CEO gender influences the likelihood of dismissal. We theorize and find that ceteris paribus, female CEOs are significantly more likely to be dismissed than male CEOs. Perhaps even more importantly, we find a CEO gender by firm performance interaction such that male CEOs are less likely to be dismissed when firm performance is high (compared to when it is low), whereas female CEOs have a similar level of dismissal likelihood regardless of firm performance. Notably, our results are robust to multiple analytical techniques and various econometric specifications, bringing greater credence to the validity of our findings. Implications and directions for future research are also discussed.

Publication Title

Journal of Management