Stephen Elop Scores $25.4 Million Payday From Nokia Sale

There are many reasons why Microsoft's $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's Devices & Services division could be a good thing for all involved. Nokia, which has had a tough time competing in the mobile handset market next to Android and iOS, gets to bow out of the business with significantly more cash, though if Microsoft turns things around and makes its Windows Phone platform a true competitor, the Finnish phone maker may regret the sale (we also don't know what would have happened if Nokia opted to embrace Android at this point in the game).

Building up the Windows Phone platform is exactly what Microsoft intends to do with its acquisition, and if it's successful, then there's obviously tremendous upside to spending $7.2 billion. Still, it's a gamble, and a very big one at that. As it stands, Windows Phone is in a distant third place in worldwide market share behind iOS and Android.

Stephen Elop

The only surefire winner in all of this is Stephen Elop, Nokia's departing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is set to take charge of Microsoft's Device's team. As part of the deal, Elop will receive a compensation package worth around a staggering $25.4 million. That includes an equity compensation of around $19.74 million plus another $5.68 million in salary and bonuses, according to figures The Wall Street Journal dug up from filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Microsoft is committed to paying 70 percent of that sum, leaving Nokia on the hook for the remaining 30 percent. It's also worth noting that Elop has already earned over $12 million since joining Nokia.

On top of all this, Elop is in the running to become the next Chief of Microsoft when Steve Ballmer steps down. Microsoft hasn't ruled out that Elop is a candidate, and some analysts believe that he's a front runner.