Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer has a golden parachute worth $55 million that kicks in the event she is terminated within a year of the company being sold.
Per Yahoo’s amended 10-K filing with the SEC Friday, Mayer would receive $3 million in cash severance, plus accelerated stock options and grants worth $51.8 million if the company.
Yahoo’s board is currently evaluating bids from prospective buyers for the Internet company’s core business. Verizon and private-equity firms are among the parties reported to have submitted acquisition proposals.
Last month, Yahoo modified the terms of its employee severance plans to clarify that a change in control of the company applies to sale of “all or substantially all” of its operating businesses.
Yahoo! started off 22 years ago as “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web,” back when the web was still small enough that a useful directory could be hand-curated by a couple of Stanford grad students in their copious free time.
Within six years, Yahoo! was outsourcing its search to Google. It never really recovered from failing to innovate algorithm-powered searches. The company has purchased a lot of other tech firms in the last 15 years, but I can’t recall the last time the company effectively innovated a new technology. Facebook reinvented networking, Twitter reinvented chat, Apple reinvented mobile… and Yahoo! bought a nice stake in Alibaba, which is far more profitable than Yahoo! itself.
Mayer was brought in to turn the company around, but her most of her efforts were either halting or ineffective. And Mayer is no dummy — she’s a Stanford grad herself, and Google’s Employee #20, where she left a lasting mark.
It was and remains a popular web portal — but so what? Apparently there just isn’t that much money to be made collating other people’s content, which is still Yahoo! core business after more than two decades.
What a shame that the company wasn’t able to keep or rekindle the original excitement, whimsy, and utility of “Jerry and David’s guide to the World Wide Web.”