• Robert Adelson

The “golden keys” that unlock “golden handcuffs”

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Executive employment agreements and equity arrangements are the “golden keys” that unlock “golden handcuffs”. Signing bonuses serve as the key to open the door to hiring. Vesting options, bonuses and other “golden handcuff” benefits make executives more reluctant to leave their current position for a new one. However, signing bonuses are often used as a tool of persuasion – urging an executive to sign with a new company. Signing bonuses are crucial when accompanying a job offer that has a lower salary than an executive wants.



CEO, Maria Leone* sought out the counsel of Attorney Robert Adelson who helped her negotiate an increased signing bonus with a new firm that expressed interest in hiring her. Maria Leone was currently working as a CEO at a NY ad agency where she made a comfortable salary with foreseeable bonuses and vesting options, however when a young, rising agency (we will call Marketing X*) expressed interest with a higher salary Maria grew interested. Since the Marketing X was still young, and the salary the company was offering was not substantially higher Maria wanted to explore her options and negotiate her executive contract terms.


Attorney Adelson negotiated the executive’s employment agreement as well as her equity arrangements, convincing Marketing X to set up a package with stock and options to reward Maria’s loyalty later down the road. Attorney Adelson also negotiated a substantial increase in the signing bonus and an increased salary as well. The signing bonuses and equity arrangements that Marketing X arranged from Maria Leone helped make her particular transition between companies smooth and lucrative, making Maria whole for what she lost when leaving her current position.


Robert Adelson was successful with this representative case because he applied his over 30 years experience, care and time to help Maria Leone achieve a more desirable position. As a Boston executive employment attorney, with clients across the country, Attorney Adelson has helped many executives negotiate signing bonuses and employment agreements. This representative case highlights the success that Attorney Adelson’s executive compensation negotiations led to for CEO Maria Leone.


*All dates, client’s names and companies have been altered to keep confidentiality.

0 views0 comments