GoPro's CEO Just Dropped $229 Million to Fulfill a Promise to His College Roommate

Why GoPro's Woodman Returned 4.7M Shares

Billionaire Nick Woodman’s fortune dropped $229 million this week after he fulfilled a promise made to his college roommate more than a decade ago.

The GoPro Inc. founder returned 4.7 million shares to the San Mateo-based camera maker on May 11, according to a regulatory filing. He agreed in 2011 to repay the company for stock options it granted to Neil Dana, who attended the University of California at San Diego with Woodman and was GoPro employee No. 1.

Woodman, 39, vowed in the development phase of the 10-year-old company to give Dana 10 percent of any proceeds he received from the sale of the company’s shares, according to the company’s 2014 prospectus. To cancel this agreement, GoPro issued Dana more than 6 million fully-vested options in June 2011 and 270,000 restricted stock units six months later. Woodman agreed to reimburse the company when the options were exercised.

Dana, who is GoPro’s director of music and specialty sales, spent $3.6 million to exercise his options, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. They were valued at $229 million at the close of trading on Monday.

Woodman, whose net worth will fall to $2.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was awarded $285.3 million in 2014 compensation, making him the highest-paid U.S. executive, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jeff Brown, a spokesman for GoPro, declined to comment.

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