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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 25, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Nokia boss Elop’s Microsoft payout complicated by divorce

A divorce is apparently complicating the controversial $25 million golden parachute that former Nokia boss Stephen Elop will receive as part of Microsoft’s buyout of the Finnish company’s phone business.

Stephen Elop at Nokia World 2011 in London. AP photo by Sang Tan.

Stephen Elop at Nokia World 2011 in London. AP photo by Sang Tan.

The $25 million payment — closing out Elop’s contract with Nokia — isn’t too unusual in the U.S. He may get an even richer contract if he’s selected to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft’s chief executive.

But the payment is a big controversy in Finland, which isn’t accustomed to fortunes being showered on outgoing executives. It also adds insult to injury in a country shaken by the dissolution of its marquee company.

Elop and Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa have discussed canceling or reducing the payout, according to a report in Finnish paper Helsingin Sanomat.

But the adjustment is complicated by the pending divorce of Elop from his wife, Nancy, the paper reported. Even if Elop were to give up the bonus, he may still have to pay her half of the payment that was granted while they were still married.

Stephen Elop filed a petition for divorce on Aug. 1 in King County Superior Court, where the case is scheduled to continue into 2014. Lawyers involved in the case did not return calls for comment.

At the time of the divorce filing, Elop and Ballmer were negotiating the $7.2 billion sale of Nokia’s phone and services business to Microsoft, where he was formerly the executive in charge of the productivity software group. Elop will return to Microsoft when the deal closes, probably in early 2014.

The Elops, who attended the same engineering school in Canada and have five children, have continued to keep their primary home in the Seattle area.

However, they recently put their Redmond mansion up for sale, for $5 million.

Comments | Topics: ballmer, divorce, lumia


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