Predicting who stays or leaves after the acquisition: Target’s top manager turnover
Abstract: In acquisition of high-tech and knowledge intensive firms, scholars have paid special attention to top managers’ status after the deal. Literature suggests that these managers in particular CEOs if kept in post-acquisition provide coordination capacity for the acquirer to transfer the knowledge and technology from the target to the acquirer while minimizing the disruptive effect of post-acquisition integration process. In addition, the acquirer benefits from human capital embedded in target’s managerial resources; especially in high-tech and knowledge intensive firms where top managers are founders or patent holders. Although the above mentioned argument have been validated by empirical studies showing that top manager’s turnover reduces the post-acquisition performance for the acquirers, multiple empirical studies have reported abnormal managerial turnover shortly after the acquisition. This thesis made an attempt to explain this puzzling phenomenon by investigating on the determinants of the top manager’s turnover of the target in the post-acquisition period. The study finds that in case of CEOs, acquirers do not rely always on coordinating capacity provided by them in post-acquisition. Indeed, the acquirer’s choice of provision of coordination is beyond the target’s CEO retention. The choice of coordination depends on the existing level of coordination capacities and the acquisition’s motivation. In addition, founder-CEOs are more likely to stay after the acquisition because of their valuable firm-specific human capital for the acquirer. However, this value diminishes by the maturity of the target. In addition, similarity in demographic characteristics of the two CEOs (of the acquirer and target) causes social attraction, collaboration and cooperation which ultimately increases the chance that the target’s CEO retention. Finally, diversity within the target’s top management team (TMT) directly increases their chance of departure after the deal. The diversity engenders social frictions, conflicts and coordination inefficiencies.
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