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Corporate governance in the shipping industry: board interlocks and agency conflicts

Andreas Andrikopoulos (Department of Business Administration, School of Business, University of the Aegean School of Business, Chios, Greece)
Andreas Georgakopoulos (American College of Greece, Athens, Greece)
Anna Merika (American College of Greece, Athens, Greece)
Andreas Merikas (University of Pireaus, Piraeus, Greece)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 11 July 2019

Issue publication date: 13 August 2019




This paper aims to explore the effect of interlocking directorates on agency conflicts and corporate performance in the shipping industry.


The authors use social network analysis to discover central nodes in the network of personal and corporate connections in an international sample of 110 listed shipping companies.


Assessing network structure, the authors find that the network of corporate leaders is denser than the network of shipping companies. The network of shipping companies is populated with many isolated nodes; the network of shipping executives and directors is populated with many cohesive groups in which the longest distance between two corporate leaders is two companies. The authors find that interlocking corporate leadership can help resolve agency conflicts in the shipping industry, bearing a negative effect on the magnitude of agency costs. The extent of leadership overlaps is associated with board size, financial leverage and profitability. The relationship between profits and interlocks is bidirectional, implying that interlocking directorates bear a positive effect on asset returns.


The authors map the relational structures in the social networks of companies and company leaders in the shipping industry and discover the cross-sectional determinants of interlocks in the shipping industry. The finding about the effect of interlocks on profitability and agency costs bears policy implications for the design of corporate governance in the shipping industry.



Andreas Georgakopoulos was a brilliant, talented and kind young scientist. His tragic death on February 26, 2017 deprived us from an irreplaceable friend, scholar and collaborator. His spirit is immortal.


Andrikopoulos, A., Georgakopoulos, A., Merika, A. and Merikas, A. (2019), "Corporate governance in the shipping industry: board interlocks and agency conflicts", Corporate Governance, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 613-630.



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