Stephen Elop, the former Nokia (NOK1V) Oyj chief executive officer who is rejoining Microsoft Corp. (MSFT:US), is set to get more than $25 million if the Finnish company completes the sale of its handset business to the software maker.
Microsoft will pay 70 percent of the projected total amount of about 18.8 million euros ($25.5 million), and Nokia the remainder, according to a proxy filing by Espoo, Finland-based Nokia today. The value of Elop’s reward is estimated using Nokia’s Sept. 6 closing share price and may still change.
The 49-year-old Canadian, who was CEO at Nokia for three years, will move back to Microsoft as part of the 5.44 billion-euro takeover announced this month. He is a candidate to succeed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who is preparing to step down.
Nokia shares have dropped by more than a third since Elop was hired on Sept. 10, 2010, even with the stock’s gain since the sale to Microsoft was announced. Nokia shareholders are set to vote Nov. 19 on the transaction, which will see a business that accounted for half of the company’s 2012 revenue, along with 32,000 employees, transfer to Microsoft.
The shares fell 1.1 percent to 4.89 euros at 6:06 p.m. in Helsinki. Nokia has a market value of 18.3 billion euros.
Elop headed Microsoft’s business division before joining Nokia. He is returning with experience competing head-on in mobile devices against Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and Google Inc. (GOOG:US), rivals Microsoft needs to challenge to gain market share in smartphones, tablets and search.
Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, has said it will consider internal and external candidates to replace Ballmer. Tony Bates, Satya Nadella, Qi Lu and Terry Myerson are the other leading choices among Microsoft’s executives, people with knowledge of the matter have said.
At Nokia, Elop’s effort to transform its handset business failed to lead to an earnings recovery, with the company losing more than 5 billion euros in nine quarters. Even as sales of the Lumia smartphone -- based on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system -- made some early gains, Nokia’s market share has shown little improvement against Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone.
Among the victories Elop can claim: In the first quarter, on the strength of Lumia, Windows Phone beat out BlackBerry (BBRY:US) as the third-largest smartphone operating system, according to a Gartner Inc. report. Elop has also helped attract new application developers through Lumia’s nascent sales gains.
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