Ben Barka (H.) et Legendre (F.). — Effect of the board of directors and the audit committee on firm performance: a panel data analysis. Journal of Management and Governance, 2016, p. 1–19.

This research examines the relationship between independent directors, the audit committee (AC), and firm performance, taking into account the impact of the chief executive officer’s powers and block shareholders. We use the maximum likelihood estimator, based on agency theory assumptions and cylindered panel data, to examine three models of firm performance. The results show that the independence of the board is reflected clearly by increased economic and equity performance of the firm. However, an AC that is fully independent or meets frequently is associated with lower firm performance. Unlike pension funds, institutional shareholders can be considered an effective control mechanism in the context of France. Our results development includes advanced explanations for market liquidity and shareholders’ portfolios. The study period ends before the European regulation on ACs came into effect in 2008. This allows for an appreciation of soft law in French corporate governance. It also lets us compare the data with the way firms operate their boards one decade later. The evidence provides useful guidelines on the supremacy of soft law in corporate governance and suggests that the composition and functioning of the board of directors should be moderated based on the firms’ context. The specificity of the cylindered panel data helps to better examine the impact of the board and AC’s independence and functioning in French corporate governance structure.