Sklover & Company, LLC

Employment Attorneys

Serving Executives, Professionals and Senior Managers​

ExecutiveLaw When Executive Separations Surge

12. When Executive Separations Surge

“Stop trying to calm the storm. Calm yourself; the storm will pass.”
– Buddha

An employment relation may come to an end at any time and for any reasons, some proper, some not. If you are “called to the conference room,” don’t argue and don’t fret. Just remember that everything about severance is negotiable, and focus your thoughts on “The Three T’s of a Successful Transition”: Timing, Terms and Tone.

1. Timing: The First and Paramount Issue.
Of the “Three T’s of Transition,” Timing is by far the most important. The reason is that the Timing of an executive departure greatly affects all other considerations. As examples:

a. Would you rather be asked to leave that day . . . or six months from that day?

b. With more time between “notice date,” and “departure date,” the more time you have to find a new position elsewhere.

c. The later you leave, the longer you will continue to receive essential benefits.

d. If your departure is perceived by potential employers as voluntary, your perceived value to them is perceived as higher than if you have no job at present.

e. The later you leave, (i) the more time there is for vesting of unvested equity, (ii) retirement contributions to be made, and (iii) bonuses to become due, or arguably entitled to proration for partial year service.

f. At year’s end, an extension of departure date past year’s end can suggest on a resume that you were employed into another year.

Does the executive have a say in the Timing of his or her departure? Yes and No, as every negotiation depends on identification, assessment and presentation of leverage, which is primarily the job of Legal Counsel.

2. Terms: Most Common Concerns.
The Most common “Transition Terms” negotiated during discussion of Executive Severance are:

g. Salary and Benefits Continuation

h. Annual Bonus and Incentive Compensation Payment

i. Treatment of Equity and Deferred Compensation

j. Retirement Contributions and Calculations

k. Future Restrictions

l. Repayment Obligations (Sign-On Bonus, Relocation, Educational, etc.)

m. Announcements, Disseminated Internally and Externally

Each of these concerns can be successfully addressed using thoughtful analysis of leverage, best rationale for request, and wise presentation.

3. Tone:  Tone and Public Perception are Crucial .
Special care and attention need be devoted to enhance the perception on all sides that the departure is dignified, not disgraceful. There is never an advantage to harming the most important business asset of all: reputation.

There’s a lot to consider, a lot to negotiate, and a lot to memorialize with clarity and precision. And, too, there’s a lot to lose or gain. We are here to help you.

We offer confidential telephone consultations as a first, preliminary step in providing counsel to those with workplace or career problems or opportunities. They are available days, evenings and weekends, depending upon urgency. For those with questions related to matters on which we were retained and worked with them during the preceding 12 months, brief discussions, without review of new documents, are provided without charge. For others, our Schedule of Consultation Fees can be found on our About page. Consultation arrangements can be made with Ms. Vanessa Mustapha or Ms. Phyllis Granger at 212.757.5000, or by email to or

(If you have any thoughts, comments or suggestions about these Insights, please consider sharing them with us, by forwarding them to us at Thank you, in advance.)

© Copyright 2020 Alan L. Sklover. All Rights Reserved and Strictly Enforced.

ExecutiveLaw Career Brand

1. Your Unique Career Brand

“Either you are distinct, or you will become extinct.”
– Tom Peters

We are enthusiasts when it comes to the practice and pursuit of branding and, of course, when it comes to employment, the notion of “career branding.”

Each of us has a unique personal brand, namely what others think of when they think of us. It is their sum total view of what we offer the world, our value to others, and to our clients, customers, employers and colleagues. Your brand precedes you, empowers you, and follows you, wherever you go.

Your “career brand” is what your present employer and all potential employers think of your potential value to them, and thus what they need to offer you in return for your working for them. Your knowledge, skills, relations and reputation have taken a great deal of time and effort to learn, acquire, and develop, and is a reflection of your personality, character and the standards you have set for yourself.

You create your brand each and every day, whether you know it or not. If you don’t proactively create and enhance your career brand, you leave that critical task to luck and chance, or worse, permit others to define it for you.

The employment marketplace is an increasingly competitive place. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has written “Good enough is no longer good enough.” We could not agree more. If you don’t have a distinctive, attractive, outstanding career brand, in the employment marketplace you are likely perceived as little more than an easily replaceable commodity.

Most of our clients have devoted and continue to devote significant effort and imagination to creation and enhancement of their own, distinctive career brand, and enjoy the multiple and varied “fruits” of their efforts. Their experiences are as inspiring to us as they are rewarding for them, in the broadest sense and spirit of those two words.

ExecutiveLaw™ Insights

  1. Your Unique Career Brand
  2. Managing Employment Risks
  3. The Recruitment Phase
  4. The Negotiation Phase
  5. Equity “Trap Doors”
  6. Climbing the Ladder
  7. If Difficulties, Disputes or Allegations Arise
  8. Navigating Employment Departures
  9. Continuing Restrictions
  10. Extending Career Longevity