If you want me to give it up, ask the missus first
Growing fury over Nokia’s Stephen Elop $25 million payoff has taken a bizarre twist, with the former CEO saying he needs the money – to pay for a divorce. According to Finnish paper Helisingin Sanomat, Elop has cited marital problems as the reason for not waiving his rights to the golden settlement, despite the nation’s Prime Minister yesterday adding his voice to the row by describing the deal as “outrageous.” It has also emerged that Elop’s deal is far better than that of his predecessor Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who did not have a clause in his contract stipulating that, in the event of a takeover, he would get a bonus tied to the value of company shares.
It’s reported Nokia’s board has literally begged Elop to waive the clause, describing its inclusion as an “accident.”
But so far Elop, who will be re-joining Microsoft once the latter has taken over the troubled Finnish manufacturer’s phone business, has resisted all appeals.
Complicating matters is that under Finnish law his wife would be entitled to half the settlement and she too would need convincing of any decision to waive her husband’s contractual rights.
She also currently lives in the USA, where different divorce legislation might apply.
Meanwhile Forbes magazine is yet another to criticise Elop’s actions, accusing him of deliberately driving down Nokia’s value so that Microsoft could acquire it on the cheap, simultaneously allowing Elop to profit from the resulting contractual bonus and rebound in the company’s share price.
Yet another benefit for Elop is that, once Microsoft has taken over Nokia’s phone operation, he will be back in the executive ranks of the Seattle giant where he is tipped to take over from its outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.
*Footnote: Elop sold all his Microsoft shares on February 17th 2011 and then bought 150,000 shares in Nokia.
Back in 2000 Anssi Vanjoki, a then Nokia senior executive, was caught on his Harley-Davidson doing 76 km/h in a 50 km/h zone and was assessed on his income to pay a $103,600 speeding ticket. Whatever you do Mr Elop, don’t speed in Finland now.