The rash of public-to-private transactions has heightened job-candidate sensitivity to the impact that these deals will have on them–should they join the company. The prime worry is of course that in short order, they could be out of a job. Blackstone’s acquisition of Equity Office is a prime example of the dismantling of an organization and producing a wave of relatively senior professionals on the street, some of whom were recent recruits. Today, the common view is that every REIT is in play, one way or another. Since everyone is hiring at all levels, this issue is a serious one for most senior-level candidates who are increasingly interested in–and insisting on–coverage under the company’s financial arrangements for key executives in the event of a change of control. (I’m even seeing candidates ask for this type of coverage from private companies.) Typically, these arrangements provide for vesting of all stock grants and options, and a year or more in base salary and bonus coverage. However, often these packages are solely for the most senior executives, and it’s not simple to include recruits (e.g., vice presidents), a move that typically requires action by the board of directors. This is a real issue, one that a hiring company may very well have to deal with, one way or another, to close with a candidate.

Tony LoPinto is CEO of Equinox Partners, an executive search firm specializing in the real estate industry, and parent company of SelectLeaders. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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