It’s no secret that Marissa Mayer has shelled out big bucks to acquire and keep executives, but a regulatory filing on Monday reminded us of that.
In it, Yahoo (YHOO) included its compensation package for Lisa Utzschneider, the company’s chief revenue officer since July 2015, and previously its SVP of sales in the Americas . Though the offer was made when she took the latter job, it will potentially amount to more than $18 million, including her stock grants.
The breakdown: $600,000 in base salary, a $1 million sign-on bonus, a stock grant with a target value of $16 million that’s partly based on performance and has a typical four-year vesting schedule, and a bonus for the year of 2015 which, if she qualifies, would be worth 90% of her base salary, or $540,000.
Needless to say, that’s a lot. But in the case of Yahoo, not quite surprising. Mayer has struggled especially over the past year to retain talent at Yahoo, even resorting to letting executives cash out of their stock options on a monthly basis instead of quarterly according to a report last month. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be working all that well—just last month, Arjun Sethi, whose messaging app MessageMe Yahoo acquired in 2014, left to join venture capital firm Social + Capital, and he’s just one of the many “acqui-hires” to have left the company.
This massive compensation is also not surprising given what Mayer paid Henrique de Castro, Yahoo’s former COO whom she fired only 15 months later. Just in his first year, de Castro was paid roughly $40 million. When he was fired, he earned nearly $60 million in severance, thanks to a “make-whole” clause in his contract that ensures he’s well compensated in the event he’s terminated. That has triggered lawsuits from investors, and a judge in one of these lawsuits recently ordered Yahoo to turn over documents to investors about the whole fiasco.
And amidst all this, Yahoo is still looking into possibly getting acquired, though things are moving quite slow for now.