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CEO surprises staff with big payday

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When Nevzat Aydin sold the company that he co-founded 15 years earlier for $589 million, he could’ve kept a big chunk of that amount for himself. After all, he was the CEO who led Yemeksepeti from its infancy as a scrappy startup to its emergence as a Turkish food delivery giant.

But in a stunning move, Aydin, 40, decided to distribute $27 million of the proceeds to 114 of his employees. He insisted that his workforce deserved a big reward for helping propel the company’s success.

Acknowledging that many employees “participated in this journey with their hard work and talent,” Aydin sought to recognize their years of commitment to the business, which delivers three million meals a month. Germany-based Delivery Hero acquired it in 2015.

Aydin paid out the bonuses only to those employees who had been with Yemeksepeti for at least two years. He determined the amount based on each staffer’s performance history, length of service and “future potential in the company,” he says. News of the bonuses left elated employees in shock, especially given the size. On average, they each received about $237,000. The sudden and unexpected windfall thus represented about 150 times their monthly wage, making it a life-changing event.

Nedim Nahmias, one of the recipients, joined Yemeksepeti’s call center in 2005. Over the next decade, he climbed the ladder to become chief operating officer.

Recalling his conversation with Aydin about the bonus, he says they “became very emotional” reflecting on its significance. Aydin remains Yemeksepeti’s CEO, and he has joined Delivery Hero’s executive board.

— Adapted from “CEO shares $27 million with staff after selling his firm,” Ivana Kottasova, money.cnn.com.

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