You can't take my $25 million, I'm getting a divorce: Nokia's Elop

You can't take my $25 million, I'm getting a divorce: Nokia's Elop

Summary: The Nokia CEO is allegedly being asked to reconsider taking $25 million from the company as he exits, but he says it's not only up to him: It's also his soon-to-be ex-wife's money.

TOPICS: Nokia, Microsoft

Nokia's outgoing CEO Stephen Elop has been reportedly begged by the Finnish company to reduce the agreed $25 million reward stipulated in his contract as part of his efforts in selling the company to Microsoft.

The $25 million was revealed in proxy materials that were made public on September 19, highlighting that Elop's contract was substantially different from his predecessors'. This was despite Nokia interim CEO Risto Siilasmaa saying that the terms of the contract were the same as former Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo.

The total value of the golden handshake, 70 percent of which will be fronted up by Microsoft, with Nokia paying the remainder, has caused enough of a stir in the market that Elop has been approached by Siilasmaa to consider reducing the amount he is entitled to.

According to Finnish paper Helisingin Sanomat, Elop is attempting to waive off Nokia's request by bringing up marital affairs: He is getting a divorce.

Under Finnish law, Elop's wife would be entitled to half of the $25 million compensation, and he would have to convince her to accept a reduced settlement if he in turn had to reduce the value of his golden handshake. The matter is further complicated by the fact that Elop's wife currently lives in the US, and it is unknown whether the divorce settlement would be subject to Finnish or US legislation.

The sale of Nokia has been under scrutiny after it was discovered that Elop's contract was different to his predecessors'. In particular, Elop's contract stipulated that in the event of a "change of control" in the company, he would be granted a bonus, tied to the value of company shares.

This has led Forbes to make the accusation that Elop purposefully drove down Nokia's value in order to sell the company to Microsoft under the guise of needing to raise capital, then profit from the resultant bonus and rebound of the company's value.

Topics: Nokia, Microsoft

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • Wow

    The conspiracy theories never end, do they?
    • conspiracies

      I wonder why anyone is speaking of conspiracy theories in the first place. Right when Elop was chosen as the CEO, everyone was saying that it was only the first step in selling Nokia to Microsoft. Now that it happens, everyone is acting as if it was a surprise and a conspiracy... :/
      • True that!

        People inside and outside of Nokia had an idea of what was coming well before Elop negotiated his contract. A contract is a contract and they shouldn't be trying to backtrack now that he accomplished what they wanted all along. I say, give him his money and stop whining about it. The job is done. The contract should stand. Period.
  • Nancy Uses Android

    The divorce must be over "mental cruelty". Hubby just kept getting embarrassed over his phone troubles at home...
  • Imagine if Elop was paid $1 for every Windows Phone sold.

    Even if Elop got a generous commission of $1 per every Windows Phone sold, I don't think he would get $25 million.

    It's madness.

    The guy who destroyed the company, who cancelled its greatest assets (Symbian and Meego operating systems), who left the company in ruins, gets paid a bonus of $25 million.

    Besides, everyone assumes he's a proxy who was making decisions at Nokia on behalf of Microsoft.
    • greatest assets

      Symbian and Meego was a greatest assets? Are you on drugs? Symbian was great, in 2006-2007. Thanks to Kallasvuo this great OS are falling apart with every new version. s60v5 (released in 2008) will crash few times a day, in the matter of fact phone who running this version crashed whenever you tried to do anything (for example big fiasco n97), not to mention that this version was just very slow. If that wasn't enough, the new version was even worse. Jo Harlow ( had to come out and publicly apologize for the pitiful state of the OS.

      Meego, he was a promising but wasted OS. Firstly, thanks to cooperation with Intel, so you do not have support for LTE, so carriers were not interested to * sell * the device with this OS. Especially in US. And organization... From taskumuro story about MeeGo: "The organization, however, was led from an ivory tower. Towards the end the individual developers had no say in, or even worse no knowledge about, the decisions and changes that took place in the background. Many Nokia employees we interviewed were, at the time, focused on their specific task, and not aware of the bigger picture of MeeGo development. The technology was developed in various teams, which did not communicate with each other. No one made sure that the pieces of the puzzle fit together."

      Here is full story:
      • Huh?

        You're still pushing that story, even though it demonstrates that Nokia upper management had no clue how good Meego was? Or how good it could be? Mr.SV, you've been on these forums for a while now and you are a MS cheerleader. Anything else is bad, corrupt, second-rate and not worth anyone's time.

        Just because Nokia didn't really want Meego, doesn't mean it wasn't a valuable asset? If it was so bad, why did Samsung fork it for Tizen? Or why did Jolla fork it for Sailfish? If Nokia had thrown it's considerable development resources behind Meego, we would now have one more viable phone OS. But all you seem to take glee in is running it down.
        • huh?

          First of all why you think that I'm someone cheerleader? This story about MeeGo is true, pure facts from Nokia employees. Why did Samsung fork it for Tizen? Or why did Jolla fork it for Sailfish? Because as I mentioned MeeGo was promising, but under Kallasvuo was wasted. Just read the story. If you have better sources what's happened with MeegGo under Nokia roof, then please share with as.

          Samsung have money, Samsung have many source of money. They just have resources, Nokia don't have this luxury.

          In my opinion Nokia have many more valuable asset than MeeGo, like NSN or services like Here, assets who make money for them, MeeGo was a vacuum.

          @benched42 if it wanted me to, I would give you the reins and we would find out how to load cash in meego end up. Unfortunately I don't have that power, so we dont't.

          I sincerely believe that the withdrawal of MeeGo was good strategic decision. I also believe that it would agree with her a lot more people if it had not taken by Elop [MS employee].
          • please explain us

            Mr.SV, why the Elop's decision to put all the company's eggs into one and only basket was so great? Do you have any stories talking about that as well?
          • A killer app is needed for any new OS

            I'm asking, not being silly or rhetorical, was it like apple back in the day when they needed that 150mill from Billy to stay afloat? Maybe they didn't see anyplace else to turn.

            They wanted differentiation... they got it... they made quality products.... but that wasn't enough to overcome that much of the differentiation was actually bad from a marketing POV

            All the reviews I've read said that the lumias were outstanding phones, and that WP is a surprisingly good OS by itself (the integration with other things and lack of apps remain large, possibly insurmountable, issues however)

            As for other OS's WP and Symbian are and were well reviews products... but unless you get the market share I doubt it helps any... I'd be surprised if any alternate OS that didn't have a Google or apple or MS (and even one with a MS behind it!) was able to succeed in today's market without something other than just being a neat or different or even a bit faster UI... The availability of Apps was the for apple, the openness and competition was it for android... MS is trying to make quality of user experience ...or the camera.... the killer app for WP... but I don't see that working out for them in the short term.
          • It was reported, at the time

            That Apple had $1 billion in cash, and liquid assets when Microsoft paid them, for stealing Apple's software code (and what ever else Microsoft did, at that time). Reaching a settlement, in which the offending party pays a reduced amount, is not "bailing" the harmed party out.
            I hate trolls also
      • Am I the only one

        who thinks Blackberry was a bunch of bumbling fools for not capitalizing on thier monopoly of the smartphone market before apple did
    • Thinks?

      How about knows. The Flop has done nothing but prepare Nokia for raping by M$. He is a complete failure, but in current business culture that means a big payoff. Just look at all the failing bank execs in the USA!
      • You just took the words out of my mouth.

        Beyond the financial sector, take a look at some of the former giants in the tech industry. Dell, HP, and so many others where the guys at the top get platinum parachutes (because gold wasn't good enough) while their workers get screwed. Ditto with every other sector when it comes to companies failing.

        So long, Nokia. I'll miss the good times we had.
    • Nokia devalued

      If I were a conspiracy nut, I'd say that he was sent by Microsoft to deprecate Nokia's market value by sabotaging profitable areas and getting Nokia to accept delaying tactics from Microsoft - keeping Nokia from flipping MS the bird and going Android or Meego.

      Then again, "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." which I thought was from Heinlein but was actually from Bonaparte.

      Certainly all parties involved can clearly be shown to be non-malicious.
      • very nicely put

      • Hanlon's Razor

        "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

        I always knew the above as Hanlon's Razor. No clue it was from Bonaparte. Also known as "Occam's Razor, first corollary".
        Beast Of Bodmin
    • That kind of thing is normal in a US executive director's contract.

      Certainly the part about the $25,000,000 golden parachute.

      For all their product development and release ineptitude, MS certainly show some ingenuity and a talent for playing the long game.
      Beast Of Bodmin
  • Conspiracy theories aside

    Are there persons still believing he has done a great job for Nokia?!

    We can read the following in a Forbes' article:
    " ... But thanks to its board of directors, it (Nokia) entered that battle with a general who was promised a king’s ransom should he happen to lose. Nokia’s directors will go down in the European business history as one of the most perverse crews to lead a major corporation in the post-war era.
  • This has to be false.

    If true it would be that Nokia is even worse are employment contracts than we thought. Also, it's worth $7.5 million for Nokia to be rid of him.