Telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent said Friday it had nearly halved the compensation due to its former chief executive after the 14-million-euro ($15.8 million) payout sparked an uproar in France.
The French-US company said its board of directors and former chief executive Michel Combes had agreed to reduce his compensation to a maximum of 7.9 million euros.
The payout, coming as Combes jumps ship to a telecoms operator while troubled Alcatel-Lucent's buyout by its Finnish rival Nokia has not been completed, sparked a storm in France where executive compensation is a sensitive issue as unemployment hovers around 10 percent.
Combes had insisted that most of the compensation was not a golden parachute but instead a reflection of the increased value of the company's stock following the Nokia buyout as, like most executives, he received shares as compensation.
He had given up in April a 2.4-million-euro payment due to him when leaving the company.
However the package sparked not only criticism from ministers in France's Socialist government, but also investigations by authorities.
Alcatel-Lucent said it took into account recommendations from two government bodies as well as trade associations, including cutting a planned 3.1-million-euro payment as part of a non-competition agreement into line with the level prevalent in France.
Some of the compensation will also be made contingent on the successful completion of Nokia's purchase of Alcatel-Lucent.