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Canadian hug: No bonus for Nokia employees as Elop grabs $25 million

Published Jan 28th, 2014 2:46PM EST
Nokia Employees Bonus Controversy

According to a Nokia intranet post acquired by BGR India, Nokia will not be handing bonuses to its handset unit employees for 2013. Exiting CEO Stephen Elop, however, will still get a $25 million bonus for engineering the sale of the phone division to Microsoft. The news actually comes as a surprise to many Nokia employees. Internally, Elop made a very positive early impact at Nokia, appearing to be a friendly, grounded Canadian dedicated to being a champion of loyal long-term employees. According to discussions with several Nokia handset managers, many of them believed he really cared for mid-level workers who had been at Nokia for 5 to 15 years.

Eliminating possible future rivals ruthlessly is not the only key aspect of Elop’s career success — his ability to project warm empathy and genuine interest in his employees’ well-being is just as important. Some Nokia employees are only now waking up to reality: no bonus after the division sale to Microsoft, wave upon wave of layoffs and the likely prospect of most R&D resources being slowly shifted to Redmond.

A Nokia spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for contact.

The heartbreak at Espoo is unlikely to concern Elop too much since he is deeply involved in intrigue over the CEO position at Microsoft. One by one, many of Elop’s key rivals seem to have dropped out of contention in recent months. Just two weeks ago, Ford’s Mulally made clear he is not in the running. One day soon, Elop may be hugging Xbox and Bing employees, gazing into their eyes with deep empathy and ensuring that he is looking out for them. There are few things more chilling to an IT employee with a sense of industry history.

After launching mobile game company SpringToys tragically early in 2000, Tero Kuittinen spent eight years doing equity research at firms including Alliance Capital and Opstock. He is currently an analyst and VP of North American sales at mobile diagnostics and expense management Alekstra, and has contributed to, Forbes and Business 2.0 Magazine in addition to BGR.