Microsoft Lavishes Nokia's "Trojan Horse" CEO With $25.5M
September 19, 2013 7:20 PM
(Source: Orig. Image: yle.fi)
Stephen Elop cashes in richly for coming back to the fold
At the 2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC), the mobile industry's top trade show, Stephen Elop was asked outright by one member of the audience during a Q&A session
whether he was a "Trojan horse"
. Indeed, if Nokia Oyj.'s (
appointment of Mr. Elop
-- who served as head of Microsoft Corp.'s (
) business division from 2008 to mid-2010 -- didn't raise enough eyebrows, his subsequent decision to
switch Nokia over to solely using Microsoft's Windows Phone platform
Three years have passed since he took over at Nokia and now Nokia has
a proud new owner
-- Microsoft. And one of the terms
of Nokia's acquisition
is once again raising eyebrows about the Microsoft returner's role.
Mr. Elop -- who is stepping down as CEO to assume a role as Microsoft's EVP of Devices & Solutions. This role is
currently held by fast mover Julie Larson-Green
, but comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the acquisition seemingly suggest that this fast-riser (Larson-Green) might be at least temporarily be demoted
from her EVP spot
Mr. Ballmer's letter to employees from earlier this month
Stephen Elop will be coming back to Microsoft, and he will lead an expanded Devices team, which includes all of our current Devices and Studios work and most of the teams coming over from Nokia, reporting to me.
Julie Larson-Green will continue to run the Devices and Studios team, and will be focused on the big launches this fall including Xbox One and our Surface enhancements. Julie will be joining Stephen’s team once the acquisition closes, and will work with him to shape the new organization.
The particularly eye-brow raising term of the Nokia acquisition is that it delivers Mr. Elop one whopper of a payday for that transition; Nokia is giving him a parting gift of €18.8M (~$25.5M USD) -- €4.2M ($5.7M USD) in salary and bonuses and €14.6M ($19.8M USD) in equity compensation.
Stephen Elop scored a "fat wad of cash" for delivering Nokia into the hands of his former employer -- and now "new" employer -- Microsoft.
[Image Source: yle.fi (original); Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC (modifications)]
The Wall Street Journal
this payout, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing by Nokia.
The big question now is whether Mr. Elop will rise even higher in Microsoft. Some had speculated that Mr. Elop might be a leading candidate to
replace current Mr Ballmer
, who is
stepping down from his CEO post by Aug. 2014
. If that happens, it may turn out that Mr. Elop is just "holding down the fort at the Devices and Studios team, and that Ms. Larson-Green will regain the EVP spot.
Of course Microsoft is also rumored to be actively
pursuing Mr. Ballmers BFF Alan Mulally
, President and CEO of Ford Motor Comp. (
). Whether Mr. Elop gets the nod as Microsoft chief may depend in part on whether Mr. Mulally is willing to jump ship to Microsoft, a larger, but more troubled firm. But regardless of his eventual position it's clear that Mr. Elop -- also a close friend of Steve Ballmer -- has played his roled to perfection, well, for Microsoft at least.
To be fair to Mr. Elop, even his critics should ask themselves -- who wouldn't play "Trojan horse" for a couple of years for a could $25M+ payout?
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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