SAP analyzes stock option plan

German business software vendor SAP AG is analyzing its current employee stock options program worldwide.

"A compensation committee is looking at our programs across the group globally to see if any changes are required and if so, what those changes should be," SAP spokeswoman Laurie Doyle Kelly said Monday.

On Tuesday, Microsoft Corp. said it will replace its employee stock option plan with a new plan that will allow employees to earn actual Microsoft shares. The U.S. software giant believes the new compensation scheme will help attract new talent.

Currently, SAP has three separate stock option programs for its workforce of around 29,000 people. The STAR program, launched in 1998, is based on both convertible bonds and stock options. The Long Term Investment program (LTI), launched in 2000, is based on stock options, as is the latest program, the Stock Option Program (SOP), introduced earlier this year.

All of the programs are performance-based, Doyle Kelly said.

The compensation committee includes senior SAP executives from the company's financial and human resource departments as well as a member of the management board.

"The committee is analyzing whether we have the right programs or need to make adjustments or even to introduce new ones," Doyle Kelly said. "But this isn't anything new; we're always reviewing how we compensate our employees."

SAP, like many other large technology companies, introduced stock options during the technology boom to fatten compensation programs to attract skilled employees.

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