Female Directors and Firm Value: New Evidence from Directors' Deaths

Thomas Schmid, Daniel Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper examines how female directors (FDs) affect firm value in the absence of mandatory gender quotas. Using a newly collected data set on director deaths around the globe, we find that stock prices decrease approximately 2% more when an FD passes away, compared with a male director. What explains this negative capital market reaction? We find evidence that finding successors for deceased FDs is challenging for firms: Succession delays are longer, and although firms try to replace FDs with women, two-thirds of their successors are male. Furthermore, their successors tend to be younger, less experienced, and more often externally hired. Stock prices decline less if more potential female successors exist in a country, the firm is larger, or FDs other than the deceased woman were on the board. Because observable characteristics such as age, tenure, education, and network centrality cannot explain the negative stock market reaction, unobserved differences across genders that lead to a lower fit of male successors to the existing board are the most likely explanation for the firm value loss after the death of an FD.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages26
JournalManagement Science
Early online dateApr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2022


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