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LinkedIn's CEO Is Giving His Entire $14 Million Bonus to His Employees

Mar 03, 2016

With his company's stock price in the doldrums, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner is trying to boost employee morale -- and keep talent from jumping ship -- by giving them his annual $14 million stock bonus, Re/code reported.

"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," Joe Roualdes, a spokesperson for LinkedIn, told MONEY.

Weiner's decision follows LinkedIn's dismal earnings report last month, which caused the company's market value to plummet by about 43% in just one day. Still, the chief executive maintained in a meeting later that day that "we are the same company we were the day before our earnings announcement."

Be that as it may, LinkedIn is definitely feeling the heat from skittish investors with decreasing tolerance for weakness from high-valued tech companies. As Facebook's star continues to rise, Weiner likely worried about losing employees to better-performing competitors in Silicon Valley.

Weiner is hardly the only chief executive of a struggling tech company to delve into his own earnings to try to appease anxious employees. After Twitter's stock plummeted in October, CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he would give a third of his stock award—worth about $200 million—to employees. Plum Creek Timber Co. CEO Rick Holley also gave back his $2 million bonus in 2014, because he did not feel he should receive it unless shareholders saw a return on their investment, Business Insider reported.

Though Weiner's gift is an impressive gesture, he isn't feeling the same financial pinch as other LinkedIn employees. He owns about $12.7 million in company stock, with another $57.5 million in vested options that he can buy for about 2% of LinkedIn's current stock price.

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