Thorsten Heins, BlackBerry Senior Execs To Haul In $80 Million If They Lose Jobs After Sale

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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stands to become a much richer man if he loses his job as a result of the sale of his company — thanks to a new compensation package the company's executives put into place earlier this year. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stands to become a much richer man if he loses his job as a result of the sale of his company — thanks to a new compensation package the company's executives put into place earlier this year. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stands to become a much richer man if he loses his job as a result of the sale of his company — thanks to a new compensation package the company's executives put into place earlier this year.

If BlackBerry’s senior executives lose their jobs as a result of the company’s expected new management, they stand to walk away with more than $80 million U.S. in severance.

According to the company’s 2013 proxy circular, CEO Thorsten Heins stands to get a $55.6-million U.S. severance package in the event of a termination and sale.

That's significantly more severance than any of the 4,500 BlackBerry employees who are about to lose their jobs can expect.

A year earlier, Heins' compensation package would have been worth only around $21 million, Business Insider reported.

And as his compensation without a sale of the company would be less than half the amount he would get with a sale, “Heins' finger might be on the side of the scale that tilts toward a sale rather than anything else,” BI reported last month.

Chief legal officer Steve Zipperstein would see the second-largest amount of any BlackBerry exec — $7.9 million U.S. in the case of a change of ownership.

Shareholders approved the severance plan this summer, Bloomberg News reported in August.

The remaining compensation packages for BlackBerry’s senior execs, in the event of a takeover, are:

— Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer: $7.7 million U.S.
— Kristian tear, chief operating officer: $7.4 million U.S.
— Brian Bidulka, chief financial officer: $6 million U.S.

It’s not known yet whether Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial — BlackBerry’s would-be new owner — is planning any sort of management shake-up.

Nor is it certain that the $4.7-billion offer Fairfax placed is a done deal. BlackBerry has six weeks to shop around for a better offer, and the deal is subject to due diligence, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The deal was “hastily arranged” over the weekend, the Journal reported, after BlackBerry announced Friday it was cutting 4,500 staff — nearly 40 per cent of its workforce — and had nearly $1 billion in unsold phones.

Fairfax’s offer works out to $9 per share, or slightly more than what the stock was trading at on Monday.

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