In this paper, we study whether and how impression management in the letter to shareholders (LTS) is affected and related to the role of signatory (i.e. the person whose signature appears in the letter). Specifically, we argue and expect that impres- sion management is associated with the underlying incentives to mislead outsiders that stem from the role of signatory. We find that impression management is more present when Insiders (executives or major shareholders) sign. We also find that the highest level of impression management is when the signatory holds an executive position and is not a major shareholder. Our evidence also suggests that the dichot- omous classification between Insiders and Independent Directors is not sufficient to explain cross-sectional variation in impression management.
Keywords: letter to shareholders, narrative disclosure, impression management, dis- closure tone, annual report, executive vs. independent directors.
Bozzolan, S., Michelon, G., Mattei, M., Giornetti, A. (2019). Signing the letter to shareholders: Does the Signatory’s role relate to impression management? Financial Reporting, n.1, pp. 37-82. DOI: 10.3280/FR2019-001002