Option packages for executives out of favour at Dutch blue-chip firms

Dutch companies have become much less likely to hand out large options packages to senior executives, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

The paper’s own research shows the number of registered transactions involving option and share packages fell to just 45 last year, compared with 275 10 years ago.

Of the 25 blue-chip companies listed on the AEX index, just Fugro and Reed Elsevier still hand out options, the Volkskrant says.


Generous options deals created a number of multi-millionaires in Dutch industry, including Cor Boonstra (Philips), Kees Storm (Aegon) and Ad Scheepbouwer (KPN).

Rijkman Groenink (ABN Amro) and Jan Bennink (Numico) were also able to cash in millions of euros despite the controversy surrounding their remuneration deals.

Top earner, the Volkskrant says, is former TomTom executive Alexander Ribbink who cashed in for €64.50m in a single day.

Five years

Despite the drop in popularity, many options packages run for five years, so some new millionaires are still to be created, the paper points out. But in total, the value of options cashed in by Dutch company bosses fell by 25% last year to €14.5m.

The paper also points out that while options may be out of fashion, share packages can also be extremely lucrative.

Marcel Nijhoff, chief executive at cable company Ziggo, was able to buy €1.5m worth of shares when the company was floated and cashed them in for €10m. He still owns shares valued at around €4m, the paper says.

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