Rewarding Nokia boss Stephen Elop with a staggering fat cat bonus for his role in the company's disastrous decline is "outrageous" and even "a threat to social harmony," according to the Finnish government.
Finland's favourite phone-fabricator Nokia has on Elop's watch slipped from its long-held position as the biggest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world, struggling to compete with Android and Apple as it adopts also-ran smart phone operating system Windows Phone. Yet Elop is set to trouser a whopping £15.8m when Microsoft takes over Nokia hardware.
Microsoft is set to buy Nokia's smart phone business for £4.6bn to strengthen the ties between Nokia Lumia hardware and Windows Phone software. Microsoft is set to pay 70 per cent of Elop's bonus, once the deal is approved by an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders in November.
But Finland's two top politicians aren't impressed with the pay-off for Elop, a former Microsoft employee. The FT reports Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen calls the bonus "quite outrageous," adding that corporate bonuses defy common sense. And finance minister Jutta Urpilainen claimed such payments contributed to a "general toxic atmosphere" that could be "a threat to social harmony."
Departing Microsoft boss Ballmer has admitted that Microsoft was too slow to focus on phones, a criticism that could be levelled at Nokia on the subject of smart phones. The Lumia range may be full of great phones, but they've failed to turn around Nokia's declining fortunes. For more on the fascinating and checkered history of the 150-year-old company, hit play on our video:
Will Elop's performance at Nokia be vindicated in the long run? Is Nokia in terminal decline, or simply weathering a tough transition to the new realities of the phone market? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or pay out a bonus on our Facebook page.