Does a Chief Audit Executive Matter? Evidence from Corporate Disclosure of the Position

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A Chief Audit Executive (CAE) is the leader of a company’s internal audit function. Because there is no mandated disclosure requirement for the internal audit structure, little is understood about

A Chief Audit Executive (CAE) is the leader of a company’s internal audit function. Because there is no mandated disclosure requirement for the internal audit structure, little is understood about the influence of a CAE on a company. Following the logic that a CAE disclosed in SEC filings is more influential in a company’s oversight function, I identify an influential CAE using the disclosure of the role. I then examine the association between an influential CAE and monitoring outcomes. Using data hand collected from SEC filings for S&P 1500 companies from 2004 to 2015, I find companies that have an influential CAE are generally larger, older, and have a larger corporate board. More importantly, I find that an influential CAE in NYSE-listed companies is associated with higher internal control quality. This association is stronger for companies that reference a CAE’s direct interaction with the audit committee. This study provides an initial investigation into a common, but little understood position in corporate oversight.