Employees upset by a recent fall in Linkedin’s valuation at the stock market – 43% in a single day- have a reason to cheer up. The CEO Jeff Weiner has announced a magnanimous award of his annual stock grant worth $14 million as bonus to the Linkedin employees. Linkedin has around 9000 employees across the world, and the bonus of $14mn will be distributed amongst them according to their stock arrangements. (If distributed equally, that makes each Linkedin employee richer by about $1500)
Joe Roualdes, a spokesman for LinkedIn, told Money magazine, “Jeff decided to ask the Compensation Committee to forgo his annual equity grant, and to instead put those shares back in the pool for LinkedIn employees.”
However, Weiner is barely affected even after a giveaway this generous. The CEO was counted as amongst the top 10 highest paid CEOs in the world with a salary of $49 million. He also owns 105,924 shares of stock ($12.7 million), with 480,000 more shares of vested stock ($57.5 million) at the ready that he can buy for roughly two percent of LinkedIn’s current stock price.
With the announcement, Weiner joins the league of many CEOs who in a bid to boost employee spirit have in the past decided to give away part of their equity or bonus in favour of the employees. A Turkish CEO was in the news last year for giving away a bonus of $200k per employee when the startup got acquired by another company. Back in October, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gave away 1/3rd or $200 million in stock to Twitter employees after company-wide layoffs and a battered stock price had taken their toll.
Closer home in India, then then CEO and ex-co-founder of Housing.com, Rahul Yadav had famously announced his decision to distribute all of his Housing stock amongst the employees. Amongst the more popular acts of CEO generousity has been Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who along with an announcement of the birth of his daughter, vowed to give away 99% his Facebook stocks towards charity.