USAToday, among others, reported yesterday that Yahoo COO Henrique de Castro “stepped down” from his role, in the wake of Yahoo’s decline from number two to number three (after Google and Facebook) in online advertising. Stepped down is polite.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer bounced him out the door.
In an internal memo, published on Re/Code, Mayer says “I made the difficult decision that our COO, Henrique de Castro, should leave the company. I appreciate Henrique’s contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
There’s no ambiguity there. None of the usual “wants to spend more time with his family” or “pursue other interests” language appears in Mayer’s missive to employees. Rightly or wrongly de Castro is being shown the door largely because of disappointing ad revenues. Whether he’s a fall guy remains to be seen.
Much of the reporting yesterday when the news broke focused on de Castro’s nearly $60 million compensation package. He won’t collect all (or most of it) because of a four year vesting period. But he will get at least several million for roughly a year of his life spent at Yahoo.
De Castro hired away from Google by Mayer in October 2012 and began in January of this year at Yahoo. He was the first significant hire she made as Yahoo CEO.
At Google de Castro had broad responsibility for Google’s display ad businesses. His LinkedIn profile reads:
Managed Google’s $5bn+ Media, Mobile & Platforms business globally with full P&L ownership, including TV Ads, YouTube Ads, Google Display Network, Mobile Ads, AdMob, AdX and DoubleClick business.
Was it de Castro’s own shortcomings or some sort of “structural” problem with Yahoo’s business (or both) that is ultimately to blame for his termination? Yahoo reports Q4 2013 earnings on January 28.
Postscript: I was entirely wrong about how much de Castro stands to collect. It’s not clear he will get all of it but Forbes reports that his is a $109 million Golden Parachute, one of the largest on record.