The Finnish Government has added its weight to the row over former Nokia boss Stephen Elop pocketing a £16m bonus if the £4.6bn sale of Nokia to Microsoft goes ahead.
News of the bonus, which was part of a deal agreed by the board of the Finnish manufacturer in 2010, has been met with vociferous criticism in Finland with some opponents calling the deal an incentive for Elop to prepare the company for sale.
Elop joined the company in 2010 from Microsoft and oversaw Nokia’s move into a joint venture with the IT giant which saw the manufacturer dump its Symbian platform in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.
Microsoft is to buy Nokia's Devices & Services business and its the license for Nokia's patents. If the deal passes regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and elsewhere, and closes in early 2014 as Microsoft expects, Elop and several other top Nokia executives will become Microsoft employees.
Elop, 49, will take the title of executive vice president for Devices, one of the groups under Microsoft's reworked corporate structure.
Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen called Elop's bonus ‘quite outrageous,’ whilst finance minister Jutta Urpilainen said such payments contributed to a ‘general toxic atmosphere’ that could be ‘a threat to social harmony.’
Risto Siilasmaa, Nokia’s chairman and acting chief executive,said Elop’s bonus ‘is purely based on the terms and conditions of his CEO contract, approved by the board in 2010.’
Calls are growing in Finland for Elop to return some or all of the bonus.