The holder of a stock option. In many cases, stock options are offered to employees of publicly traded companies and are known as employee stock options (ESOs). An ESO is basically an offer by the employer to let an employee or executive buy company stock at a certain price during a certain period of time. In this example, “optionee” refers to a company employee or executive.
Employee stock offers come with specific restrictions, including a “vesting period.” This describes the length of time the optionee must wait before taking advantage of his ESO. The reason for having vesting periods is generally to incentivize employees to stay on and be loyal to the company.
Employee One: “Did you find it weird when the CEO kept referring to us as optionees? There has to be a less awkward word to describe someone in a position to utilize an employee stock options.”
Employee Two: “Oh – that’s what optionee means? I thought it was just one of those meaningless corporate buzzwords that people say to sound smart. Like ‘synergy.’”