“Executive Ownership and Sustainability Performance” by G. Gianfrate, awarded Best Paper at the 13th Financial Reporting workshop

Written on 12 Jul 2023.

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The 13th workshop “Financial Reporting”, organised by the University of Florence, under the patronage of the Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA) and the Società Italiana dei Docenti di Ragioneria e di Economia Aziendaleo (SIDREA) offered an opportunity and venue for the meeting of academics and practitioners who were interested in recent developments and research projects regarding financial reporting.

They encouraged the submission of both empirical and theoretical papers and case studies addressing financial reporting issues in a broad sense.


On July 7, Gianfranco Gianfrate, Research Director at EDHEC-Risk Climate Impact Institute and Professor of Finance, EDHEC Business School, presented his paper "Executive Ownership and Sustainability Performance", which has been awarded as Best Paper.

Financial Reporting Best Paper Award 2023


Executive ownership addresses agency problems by aligning the financial goals of management and shareholders.

Gianfranco and his co-authors, Marco Ghitti (University of Padua - Department of Economics and Management) and Edoardo Reccagni (Bocconi University), explore whether executive ownership fosters a non-financial sustainability footprint as well.

They find that executive ownership is negatively associated with US firms’ environmental and social performance. A quasi-natural experiment shows that the inverse relationship between executive ownership and sustainability performance is causal. Executive ownership schemes can thus be detrimental for firms aiming to maximize stakeholder value by addressing environmental and social challenges. Executive compensation should rather include incentives explicitly linked to sustainability goals.


“Our findings show that the integration of sustainability in business is complex and challenging. To deliver on the transition to a carbon-free and more sustainable economy, it is necessary to introduce effective incentives for all the stakeholders,” says Gianfranco Gianfrate, Research Director, EDHEC-Risk Climate Impact Institute.


These insightful results have been released by The Banker Executive ownership – a bad deal for ESG and by Sustainable Views (FT Group).


#ExecutiveOwnership #ESG #Sustainability #Stakeholders #AgencyTheory