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.