Big payouts to tech company CEOs are nothing new, but the tale of Nokia and Elop has added layers of mystery and intrigue, from whispers of industrial sabotage to multi-million dollar divorce settlements.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is in line for a $25m (around £16m) payout when the sale of the handset business to Microsoft goes through and he steps down as the company's CEO.
Elop will receive 18 months of his salary and a "management short term cash incentive", which together come to $5.7m. He'll also receive share awards of around $19.7m, and gets a new job at Microsoft when the deal is finalised.
Back to basics
Elop is no stranger to Microsoft HQ having left the company to take over at Nokia in 2010.
And it's this return to his old stomping ground that has many people up in arms, suspecting that the whole Microsoft/Nokia deal had been orchestrated years in advance, the plan being to skim off Nokia's hardware business all along.
The Finnish, in particular, are unhappy with the size of the payout Elop is to receive for effectively taking the country's biggest company away.
It doesn't help that Nokia's chairman, Risto Siilasmaa, told reporters that the terms of Elop's payout are comparable to those of his predecessors, only to later backtrack and say he was wrong. Some have speculated that Elop's contract actually offered him an incentive to broker a buy-out deal.
Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat today reports that the beleaguered company has "pleaded" with Elop to accept a smaller package to try and quiet the drama around the deal.
However, Elop is reported to have rejected this idea for the most soap opera of reasons: because he is getting divorced. That the soon-to-be-former-Mrs Elop cannot be expected to take a reduced divorce settlement is apparently Elop's argument.
The whole situation does not exactly speak of an elegant end to an always controversial management move. But the big question remains: who will play Elop in the inevitable movie?
- For inspiration, read our profile of Stephen Elop: the outspoken CEO who engineered Microsoft's Nokia takeover
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