X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Daniel Niehans couldn’t ask for a better way to advertise his practice than a swift and deep downturn. The executive compensation specialist is often the hired heavy brought on board to wrangle severance pay for fired executives, who unlike the rank-and-file have leverage even when they’re canned. But Niehans says they wouldn’t need him on their way out if they’d had him on their way into their jobs. The Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian partner is currently negotiating employment agreements with severance terms for clients who just weeks prior needed his help with separation pay. “I’ve had people I’ve been working with for the third time,” Niehans said. “Sometimes they happen in short order.” Niehans said he spends about half his time these days counseling individuals who are getting hired or fired from Silicon Valley companies struggling to continue operating. “Most of these companies are surviving, but they’ve decided to go into different directions or the board decides it’s time for a new approach,” Niehans said. “So the old chief executive leaves and the new one arrives.” The tough part comes for CEOs who didn’t have a lawyer when they were hired to think through worst-case scenarios, he said. “They were thinking about maximizing their equity,” Niehans said. “They weren’t thinking about 12 months’ severance.” There’s a laundry list of thorny issues that come up when executives have to depart against their will, Niehans added. Company loans are a problem because too many people sign agreements to pay them back when they leave the company, he said. The last thing most people want to do when fired is to repay a big loan, and extensions are difficult to negotiate under those circumstances, he said. Then there’s the tricky non-compete clause in state law, Niehans said. Negotiating the terms of the agreement, while still giving the client leeway to get another job in their field, is difficult work, he said. For all the pitfalls of being a fired CEO, Niehans said he has very few distraught and angry clients. For the most part, the departing CEOs had seen a change coming and have accepted their fate, he said. “They saw the handwriting on the wall,” he said. “It’s resignation, in a different sense of the word.”

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.