Board Chair–CEO Relationship, Board Chair Characteristics, and Nonprofit Executive Compensation


  • Nancy Chun Feng Suffolk University
  • Xiaoting Hao University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Daniel Neely University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee



Governance, Executive Compensation, Nonprofit, Board Chair


We examine the associations between board chair–CEO relationship, board chair characteristics, and top executive compensation in U.S. nonprofit organizations. Using a sample of 2,153 organization-year observations in our empirical tests, we find a significant positive association between board chair–CEO relationship and top executive compensation. We find that board chair characteristics such as tenure and gender are not significantly associated with top executive compensation. The supplementary analyses suggest that board chair–CEO relationships are positively associated with executive compensation but for only organizations with larger revenues, a bigger board, and a lower change in percentage of program expenses. The findings should be helpful in enhancing the understanding of influencing factors on nonprofit executive compensation.

Author Biographies

Nancy Chun Feng, Suffolk University

Nancy Chun Feng is a Professor of Accounting at Suffolk University. She is an associate editor of Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management. Her research interests include nonprofit and governmental accounting, auditing, and financial accounting.

Xiaoting Hao, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Xiaoting Hao is a Lecturer of Finance at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Her research interests include empirical assets pricing, ETFs, and corporate governance. 

Daniel Neely, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Daniel G. Neely is an Associate Professor of Accounting at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is an associate editor of Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management. His research focuses on nonprofit financial management topics.






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