In a post from last September, I noted that executives were driving adoption of the iPad in the enterprise, as they once did with the BlackBerry, giving it an "I'm so important I need this device" vibe that was once quite impressive. (It's less so now that every Tom, Dick and Mary seems to check email on the go.)
In fact, I recently suggested that tablets like the iPad could be a secret weapon for IT pros trying to convince execs of the value of business intelligence software. This came from my interview with BI expert Howard Dresner, who told me tablets offered a great way to expose executives to BI. He said:
It's about changing their mind set. After you do email, business intelligence can be a great second app for tablets.
So I can't say I was surprised to find that some executives love their iPads so much they don't want to let them go - and are having corporate lawyers add clauses to employment contracts that ensure they get to keep them if they lose their jobs. Footnoted mentions several execs that have finagled iPads (and BlackBerries, so maybe they still say "executive clout") as part of their exit packages, including former Advanced Analogic Technologies CFO Brian R. McDonald.
The iPad is usually part of a larger package of parting perks, including such costly items as a home security system and 2010 Range Rover (for Energy XXI's departing COO). Because packages are so generous (or insane, depending on whether you are on the giving or receiving end), this insistence on keeping an iPad can make an exiting exec look, well, cheap. From Footnoted:
... It says you're detail-oriented. It says you sweat the small stuff. It says you're too cheap to spring for a $500 gizmo. And it strongly suggests you put a lot of value on status, perks and cool gadgets - maybe more than you do on, you know, shareholder value, since someone (read: a high-priced attorney) is taking the time and trouble to write this stuff into a contract. In short, it says a lot about you, and, maybe, a little about why you're on your way out in the first place.