An inspiring act of generosity, or simply taking one for the team? However you choose to describe it, there is no doubt that LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner has turned heads with his latest decision.
The leader of the social network for professionals, which has more than 11 million members in Canada alone, has taken the decision to forgo a $14 million stock bonus and pass it on to employees after the firm’s stock value took a hit during February’s earning report. Whereas the stock had previously been trading at $192, it slipped by 40 per cent to $108: although it has since climbed a little again, back to $119.
The LinkedIn CEO put the stock into his employee’s equity pool with a representative stating that: “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.”
In the aftermath of the stock tumble, reports suggest that Weiner had been looking to rally employees and at a company meeting he insisted that the firm has not changed before or after the crash: and that at some point the valuation would catch up.
As part of a statement released by LinkedIn from that meeting, Weiner stated: “We are the same company we were the day before our earnings announcement. I’m the same CEO I was the day before our earnings announcement. You’re the same team you were the day before our earnings announcement. And most importantly, we have the same mission, vision, and sense of purpose in terms of our ability to create economic opportunity. None of that has changed. It hasn’t changed one iota.”
This marked the first occasion in which Weiner has chosen to give up his shares. He is not the first social media CEO to act in this way, however: Twitter’s Jack Dorsey chose to give away one third of his ownership stake after a round of lay-offs during October.