• Fri, Jul 20 2012

Yahoo Paid Marissa Mayer $14 Million To Leave Google

Well, if this isn’t a good welcome package, I don’t know what is.  To partially compensate Mayer “for forfeiture of compensation from her previous employer” (Google) Yahoo gave Marissa Mayer restricted stock worth $14 million that will vest through 2014 to come on as their CEO ASAP. Fourteen million to just quit a job? Yes, please. But this was just part of Marissa’s payment package. She will also get an annual base salary of $1 million, an annual bonus targeted at $2 million based on Yahoo’s financial performance, an equity award for 2012 of $6 million (vesting over three years), and a $6 million stock option (vesting over two and a half years). There’s also a one-time retention award with $15 million in restricted stock that vests over five years, plus a $15 million performance-based stock option vesting over four and a half years. The total package comes out to $59 million.

She will also get 20 vacation days a year, up to $25,000 to reimburse her for the legal expenses incurred for the agreement, as well as $50,000 a year to pay for security. But a lot of her payment is continent on her performance.  “Ms. Mayer’s bonuses and equity grants will be subject to the Company’s ‘clawback’ policies as in effect from time to time,” the document says. And with Yahoo having five CEOs in the last five years, Marissa has her work cut out for her. The company still is financially healthy and has several hundred million people using its services everyday. According to Guardian writer Dan Gillmor what Marissa’s biggest challenge will be is deciding what Yahoo does best.  He wrote, “he inherits a company that has a terrible reputation among investors and tech journalists, yet with plenty of assets to work with in the near and longer term.”  Her background as an engineer “will give her credibility among Yahoo!’s staff and help her to focus the company’s efforts on creating new and innovative products,” Barclays Equity Research’s Anthony DiClemente told Deadline. But she has no experience running ad-based media content operations, which remain Yahoo’s “greatest assets for driving traffic.” And, unlike Google, “Yahoo! is a turn-around story,” says Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner. “It is certainly not a rocket ship. Some will contend it is a sinking ship. It remains to be seen whether she can be an effective leader of a turn-around.”

And her non-maternity leave is becoming quite a hot topic for debate.  ”My maternity leave,” she told reporters, “will be a few weeks long, and I’ll work throughout it.” Some believe this is showing a bad example and is hurting women by saying that having a baby will barely make an impact on her work schedule. Mayer has the resources and help to take a very short maternity and still have a great, attentive relationship with her child. Women lower on the totem pole aren’t quite as lucky.

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