Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will receive nearly $55 million if terminated
The severance package was probably negotiated when Mayer was hired.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was hired in July 2012 amid great fanfare and high expectations. There were many at the time who also expressed the sentiment that Mayer faced a “daunting challenge” in trying to right the Yahoo ship.
Indeed. She has experienced successes and failures. Fundamentally, I don’t believe another CEO would have done a better job, though some of the choices may have been different. There were and are structural barriers that effectively prevented Yahoo from regaining its leadership position in display advertising (i.e., Facebook and Google). However, Yahoo remains a top brand and the number three US consumer property (by traffic) online.
Under intensifying shareholder pressure, Yahoo put itself up for sale. Presumably, the winning bid was submitted on April 18.
It’s not yet clear who the buyer will be or how Yahoo will proceed under new ownership — including who will run Yahoo. Verizon is the favorite to take control of Yahoo and combine it with AOL, which the company purchased last year for more than $4 billion.
It’s likely that a new owner will seek management changes, including Mayer’s departure. If that happens, according to a report from CNBC, Mayer stands to make nearly $55 million in severance payments and benefits. CNBC said:
Mayer’s potential payout includes cash severance of $3 million, $26,324 to continue her health benefits, $15,000 for outplacement, and — if that’s enough — nearly $52 million worth of accelerated restricted stock and options.
Many people are or will be surprised by this figure. However, this sort of “golden parachute” is typically negotiated at the outset, when companies are trying to court would-be CEOs and they’re at the high point of their negotiating power.