Nokia chairman Risto Siilasmaa has admitted he was mistaken when describing the nature of former CEO Stephen Elop's payoff.
Figures including Finland's economic minister reacted angrily to Elop's sizable £16m ($25.4m) payoff, which he will receive upon the completion of Microsoft's deal to buy the handset manufacturer for $7.2bn.
The former Microsoft employee will return to the fold when the sale goes through, with Nokia shareholders due to vote on the deal on November 19.
Siilasmaa had attempted to calm the situation by claiming Elop's contract terms were similar to previous Nokia CEOs, but backtracked on Tuesday, telling Finnish publication Helsingin Sanomat he had been wrong.
The paper quoted him saying: "This is a very unfortunate thing about the case, which, moreover, raises a lot of emotions."
With Elop set to become a Microsoft employee, Nokia said he was entitled to 18 months of his salary and what Nokia called a "management short term cash incentive" - the two of which are worth $5.7m.
He is also entitled to share awards worth $19.7m.
Finland's economic minister, Jan Vapaavuori, had reacted to the news by saying: "I find it difficult to understand the merits of this bonus."