The boss of BAE could pocket £18m overnight if the defence company's multi-billion pound merger with France's EADS go ahead, it has been reported.
The British firm's chief executive, Ian King, has numerous share options which would usually take years to mature, but could be paid out in a huge windfall if the deal goes ahead, the Daily Mail reported.
Mr King has built up extensive holdings of shares and options after 36 years with the company, the newspaper said.
They reportedly include more than one million BAE shares in his portfolio, which are worth more than £3.36m at the current price.
He has also amassed options on around 4.5 million shares in executive reward schemes, due to mature over a number of years, the report said.
But a merger could trigger a clause in the company's annual report that sees the shares all pay out at once - resulting in a windfall of £17.8m, according to the report.
It is not clear at this stage whether any or all of these sums will be paid out. BAE declined to comment.
The report comes as the boss of EADS told a German newspaper he is prepared to offer guarantees for jobs and certain sites under the proposed tie-up.
"I am so convinced about our project that I am ready to talk about attractive job and site guarantees which I could not consider for EADS," chief executive Tom Enders said.
If the controversial merger goes ahead, it would create the world's biggest aerospace firm with a market value of around £40bn.
But the deal requires the approval of the British, German and French governments - and the US is also taking a close interest because of its work with BAE.
Leading shareholders joined some government officials in questioning the terms of the deal, which must be thrashed out by a deadline of October 10 set by the Takeover Panel.