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Beauty and Appearance in Corporate Director Elections

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yang Zhao



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


We study the role of facial appearance in corporate director (re-)elections by means of director photographs published in annual reports. We find that shareholders use inferences from facial appearance in corporate elections, as a better (higher rated) appearance measure of a director reduces voting dissent. These heuristics are based on perceived competence, trustworthiness, likability, and intelligence, but not on physical beauty. The results are valid for director re-elections but not for first appointment elections as in the latter cases, shareholders may not as yet be familiar with a director’s looks. In firms with few institutional shareholders and more retail investors owning small equity stakes, the latter tend to rely more on facial appearance than institutional shareholders, presumably as institutions conduct more research on the director’s background and performance, and consequently rely less on facial appearance. While female directors generally experience lower voting dissent, their facial appearance does not affect corporate voting outcomes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Geiler P, Renneboog L, Zhao Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions & Money

Year: 2018

Volume: 55

Pages: 1-2

Print publication date: 01/07/2018

Online publication date: 17/03/2018

Acceptance date: 17/03/2018

Date deposited: 15/08/2018

ISSN (print): 1042-4431

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.intfin.2018.03.004


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