ChiNext, a NASDAQ-style board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in China, has been running for more than six years since October 2009. As an important supplement to the main board market, ChiNext attracts abundant venture capital, provides new financing channels and growing space for middle and small-sized enterprises and start-up companies which cannot be listed on the main board for the moment, and signifies the gradual improvement of China's capital market. Due to the initial enthusiasm in the capital market and the problem of high issue price, high PE ratio and abundant funds, ChiNext's stocks were generally overvalued, so that many people's fortune had an overnight boost. However, this boost was followed by an abnormal trend of the massive resignations. Most executives intended to take advantage of resignation to avoid the strict equity cash-out restrictions. Their action triggers massive public concern and media coverage. According to the statistics of this study, a total of 1,730 executives of 406 companies which had been listed on ChiNext by 2014 resigned between 2009 and 2015. And the number of resignations has been increasing year by year. The Company Law of the People's Republic of China provides that the shares held by the directors and supervisors of a listed company shall not be transferred within one year from the listing date and shall not be transferred within six months from the resignation date. In order to realize the stock returns as soon as possible, executives often choose to resign precisely six months from the company's listing date and wait for cash-out. To control the situation, China Securities Regulatory Commission and Shenzhen Stock Exchange introduced a number of policies. Unfortunately, statistics show that these policies exerted limited binding effects. The wave of departure of executives adversely impacts not only the development of the companies, but also the ChiNext market and the main board market, and forces ChiNext to deviate from its original intention of supporting middle and small-sized enterprises and start-up companies. Compared with companies on the main board, listed companies on ChiNext are younger and are at the growth stage characterized by high growth and high risks. Therefore, Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the relevant regulatory authorities put forward more stringent regulations for the corporate disclosure of these companies, such as establishing investor relations columns, putting multiple telephone lines into operation for investors' consultation, disclosing preliminary earnings estimates when annual reports are not available on time, and holding an explanation session within ten trading days after the annual report disclosure. The strict requirements of frequent information disclosure may be used by executives to convey more signals to investors so as to improve liquidity and to correct undervaluation, thus increasing their own returns. Under the abovementioned circumstances, we raise some crucial questions demanding immediate attention. Will the stages of corporate life cycle of the listed companies have an impact on executives' frequent resignation and equity cash-out? Is corporate disclosure a potential incentive for executives to resign and cash out? What is the role of corporate disclosure when corporate life cycle impacts on executives' departures? To answer these questions, we propose the following approaches. Focusing on the resignation and equity cash-out of executives in listed companies on ChiNext, this paper mainly studies how corporate life cycle and corporate disclosure affect the companies whose executives resigned between 2009 and 2015. Based on corporate life cycle theory, asymmetric information theory, principal-agent theory, and signaling theory, we used manually collected sample data and panel logit regression models for an empirical analysis. Our conclusions are drawn as follows: (1) Companies at the growth stage will more likely suffer from executive resignations and equity cash-out than companies at the mature stage or the declining stage. (2)The higher the level of corporate disclosure, the higher the likelihood of executive resignations and cash-out. (3) Companies at the growth stage have significantly higher levels of corporate disclosure, which increases the likelihood of executive resignations and equity cash-out (i.e. corporate disclosure demonstrates the mediating effect). (4) Robustness tests further verify that companies at the growth stage tend to have problems of heterogeneous management teams and poor management, which may cause executive resignations and cash-out. The tests also reveal the executives' motives for stock compensation owing to voluntary information disclosure. Based on these conclusions, suggestions are provided to listed companies and market regulators. The two major contributions of this paper are as follows. First, compared with the existing literature which studies the various motivations and factors of executives' resignations or turnover, this paper focused on executives who resign primarily with the purpose of equity cash-out. This kind of resignation not only leads to the company's brain drain, but also damages its short-term image and hampers its long-term development by the subsequent cash-out. This narrower scope allowed for more in-depth study of the topic. Second, in view of the unique features of the listed companies on ChiNext, that is, they are mostly at the growth stage with a high level of corporate disclosure, this study made an empirical analysis of the impact of these features. Furthermore, we verified the mediating effect of corporate disclosure while the stage of corporate life cycle impacts on executive resignations and equity cash-out. The above analysis is a supplement to the existing literature.
杨柳勇 冯怡恬. 企业生命周期、公司信息披露与高管辞职套现——以我国创业板上市公司为例[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2018, 4(4): 74-93.
Yang Liuyong Feng Yitian. Corporate Life Cycle, Corporate Disclosure, and Executives' Resignation and Equity Cash-out: Evidence from Listed Companies on ChiNext. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2018, 4(4): 74-93.