A Change of Control Agreement Saves the Day When Your Company Is In Play

Robert A. Adelson
2 min readDec 29, 2021


Two and a half weeks ago, on Thursday December 16, 2021, the website Ivy Exec published under executive “Advancing” an article I wrote on “A Change of Control Agreement Saves the Day When Your Company Is in Play”.

This new article is designed not only for C-level and senior executives, but even for many directors and mid-level executives, whose companies are now “in play” — that there may be a sale of the company with new owners and to some extent a whole new successor employer.

Signing a change of control agreement

My article first discusses this situation faced by the executives, then advocates self-assessment of your role and importance in the pre-deal and post deal environment, and finally the importance of establishing your role and rights in a retention / change of control agreement. Among the key elements of that agreement are the following:

  • Significant equity of the target company to the executive
  • Liquidity for the executive on the levels of liquidity offered owners
  • Properly structured equity, tax favored for capital gain taxation
  • Proper severance in the event of early termination after the acquisition
  • Ability to trigger severance if the executive’s position or responsibilities are reduced
  • Proper structuring to avoid potential excise tax for parachute payments under IRC §280G.

To see my full IvyExec Career Advice website article, go to LINK https://www.ivyexec.com/career-advice/2021/a-change-of-control-agreement-saves-the-day-when-your-company-is-in-play/

Or on my website at https://www.executiveemploymentattorney.com/a-change-of-control-agreement-saves-the-day-when-your-company-is-in-play/

IvyExec hosts articles and webinars from experts in the career, leadership, and business spaces who wish to share their knowledge with our audience. In April 2021, I was invited to write for IvyExec since it seeks original content on the topics of career development, leadership, and business strategy as it applies to senior-level and C-Suite professionals. IvyExec blog posts and webinars are shared with its community of more than 2 million members on its website, in its newsletter, and on its social media channels. https://www.ivyexec.com/career-advice/write-for-us/

It is my hope that this article will be of benefit to VPs, directors and senior executives who have are trying to navigate a change in control in their companies. My article suggests terms and approaches to each of you and thus I hope will provide you a benefit in your negotiations.

Feel free to tweet or share this article. If you or any colleague of yours needs assistance in negotiating a change of control situation, please do reach out to me.



Robert A. Adelson

A corporate, tax and employment attorney since 1977, Rob represents CEOs and senior executives on employment, compensation, equity and separation matters.