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PeopleSoft Sends Conway Packing, But Wants to Keep its Front Line

October 4, 2004
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Sometimes companies give "stay" bonuses to keep top executives in place, but don’t extend those retention sweeteners to the rank and file. Last week, PeopleSoft turned that model on its head.

Amid the threat of a hostile takeover by Oracle, which could cause thousands of layoffs at PeopleSoft, the board of directors fired CEO Craig Conway. It also approved a plan to recognize the role workers have played in the course of the 16-month takeover battle and to alleviate their concerns "regarding their long-term employment prospects," according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The plan, which is triggered when another company takes control of PeopleSoft and fires its staff, gives executives between 150 percent and 200 percent of their annual salary and bonus, plus up to two years of health coverage. Before, they received 75 percent to 100 percent of their salary and bonus. Conway, whose compensation packaged was sweetened earlier, was not included in the new plan.

All employees will collect at least 12 weeks’ salary and health benefits; previously it was one week of salary for each year of service, with a maximum of three months’ salary. In addition, the plan accelerated the vesting schedule for employee stock options, allowing them to be exercised and sold immediately.

Workforce Management will provide further information on retention at PeopleSoft in an upcoming issue of the Workforce Recruiting newsletter.

--Ellen Lee

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