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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 (HEX:NOK1V) appointment of Mr. Elop -- who served as head of Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) 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 certainly did.

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 states:

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
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: (original); Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC (modifications)]

The Wall Street Journal first spotted 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. (F).  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?

Source: WSJ

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RE: I dont know...
By BabelHuber on 9/20/2013 9:56:47 AM , Rating: 3
Symbian was not dying in 2010.

This was the 2010 smartphone market share:

1 Nokia . . . . . . 100.3M . . . 34%
2 RIM . . . . . . . . 48.0M . . . 16%
3 Apple . . . . . . .47.5M . . . 16%
4 HTC . . . . . . . 25.0M . . . . 8%
5 Samsung . . . .24.0M . . . . 8%
6 Motorola . . . . 13.7M . . . . 5%
7 SonyEricsson . 9.5M . . . . 3%
8 LG . . . . . . . . . 7.0M . . . . 2%
9 Fujitsu . . . . . . 6.2M . . . . 2%
10 Sharp . . . . . . . 5.2M . . . . 2%
Others . . . . . . . . 11.6M
Total . . . . . . . . .297.9M


This is what Steven Elop inherited. And this is also what he threw away.

RE: I dont know...
By YearOfTheDingo on 9/20/2013 12:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
And BlackBerry's market cap was $40 billion in 2010. Look where they are now trying to milk skins and bones.

RE: I dont know...
By Mint on 9/21/2013 2:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
You can't show something wasn't dying with a single data point, genius. Go look at 2009, 2008 share and try to tell me that it wasn't dying.

Windows Mobile and RIM both plummeted at the same time in early 2011, and iPhone and Android shot up at the end of 2010. Are you going to tell me that Elop made all those things happen?

RE: I dont know...
By BabelHuber on 9/22/2013 3:20:56 AM , Rating: 2
You obviously haven't looked at the 2008 and 2009 data, Einstein.

Otherwise you would have seen that yes, Nokia's market share was declining, but sales numbers still rose.

So yes, Nokia sold more smartphones in 2010 than in 2009.

Only after Elop, the mandchurian CEO, declared Symbian dead in February 2011, the actual sales numbers declined.

So yes, it was necessary to replace Symbian in 2011. Nobody disputes this.

But it was utter madness to take actions to completely collapse Symbian.

The smart thing to do woud have been to release WP-phones while still milking Symbian at the same time (which at that time was still highly successfull in China, Japan, India, Russia, ...)

But you obviously think it is a good idea to badmouth your current products so that their sales collapse, while at the same time not having anything else to sell for the next 9 or 10 months?

This is what destroyed Nokia, and this was done exclusively by Elop.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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