Abstract Using a sample of listed Australian firms from 1999 to 2007, we examine the relationship between discretionary accruals and concurrent senior management appointments. Employing panel data regression models and focusing on a measure of discretionary accruals that excludes the effect of transparent write-downs such as restructuring charges, we find that chief executive officer (CEO) appointments, as a general phenomenon, are not significantly associated with opaque earnings management in the year of appointment or the following year. However, we find that CEO changes accompanied by a concurrent change in board chairperson are associated with significant income-decreasing earnings management in the year of appointment. We detect no significant relationship between contemporaneous CEO and chief financial officer changes and discretionary accruals. We find no evidence of earnings management in the first compete financial period following CEO appointment, regardless of whether or not concurrent Chair or chief financial officer appointments occurred.