Effects of CEO Turnover and Board Composition Reform on Improvements in the Internal Control Quality

Hiroshi Uemura


Several serious accounting scandals have occurred in Japan in recent years (e.g., Olympus); however, the government, regulators, and auditing standard setters have struggled to identify new directions for corporate governance in listed companies, such as standard setting to address risks of fraud in an audit or the adoption of new corporate governance codes. The validity and effectiveness of monitoring by outside directors have received criticism within such a context. Nevertheless, in 2015, accounting fraud at Toshiba was discovered, which surprisingly involved upper management; the outside directors had failed to detect and prevent this fraud. Again, the monitoring function of the Japanese board of directors and outside directors was viewed with suspicion. Thus, this study examines Japanese corporations that disclose significant deficiencies (SDs) in internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) and determines whether replacing the chief executive officer (CEO) and enhancing board members’ independence and financial expertise are followed by SD remediation. The results indicate that Japanese companies that disclose SDs in ICFR are more likely to replace their CEOs and enhance board independence. In addition, this study finds that although these actions do not affect SD remediation, upgrading the board’s accounting expertise does correlate positively with SD remediation. Moreover, if a company remediates a SD by increasing the number of accounting experts on the board, an increase in audit fees during the following term can be mitigated. These findings should be of interest to Japan’s regulators, auditing standard setters, and financial statement users when considering improvements in the quality of internal controls. In particular, these individuals must realize that the control environment is not improved in Japanese firms merely by replacing the CEO and increasing board independence, particularly because new CEOs encounter difficulties in changing the environment established by their predecessors.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/ijfr.v9n3p36

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

International Journal of Financial Research
ISSN 1923-4023(Print)ISSN 1923-4031(Online)


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