Does familiarity with business segments affect CEOs' divestment decisions?

James B. Ang, Abe de Jong, Marieke van der Poel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


We examine the impact of familiarity with business segments on CEOs' divestment decisions. We find CEOs are less likely to divest assets from familiar than from non-familiar segments. We attribute this effect to CEOs' comparative information advantage with respect to familiar segments. Consistent with this information advantage, we document that the familiarity effect is particularly strong in R&D intensive industries. We further find the familiarity effect to be most pronounced for longer-tenured CEOs who have built up sufficient political power over the course of several years in office to enable implementation of their preferred divestment choices. We also document the value effects of divestments and show that familiarity affects returns on divestment announcements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-74
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CEO selection
  • CEO work experience
  • Divestments
  • Familiarity

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