Yahoo’s Top Lawyer Just Resigned Amid Cybersecurity Mess

March 2, 2017, 1:41 AM UTC
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Yahoo’s top lawyer just took one for the team.

Yahoo general counsel Ronald Bell has resigned after an independent review of two major data breaches found that the “legal team had sufficient information to warrant substantial further inquiry in 2014, and they did not sufficiently pursue it,” according to a Yahoo regulatory filing on Wednesday.

The data breaches, which involved hackers gaining access to data for hundreds of millions of Yahoo users, took place in 2013 and 2014. The company waited until 2016 to disclose the hackings, raising intense criticism that it failed to do enough to safeguard users.

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Tech news website Recode reported Wednesday that Bell is essentially a whipping boy for its cybersecurity debacle, and is losing his job over the mess. But Recode’s Kara Swisher reported that many Yahoo (YHOO) employees think CEO Marissa Mayer and the board should take most of the blame for the hackings.

Although Mayer hasn’t lost her job, she did get dinged by Yahoo’s board and will not get her 2016 cash bonus as well as other financial perks. The filing on Wednesday explains that Mayer also “offered to forgo any 2017 annual equity award given that the 2014 Security Incident occurred during her tenure and the Board accepted her offer.”

In February, Verizon (VZ) said it would cut the price of its $4.5 billion acquisition bid for Yahoo by $350 million because of the data breaches and related aftermath. Additionally, both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Securities and Exchange Commission are reportedly investigating the company over the data breaches.

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Mayer said in a statement Wednesday that she has “agreed to forgo my annual bonus and my annual equity grant this year and have expressed my desire that my bonus be redistributed to our company’s hardworking employees, who contributed so much to Yahoo’s success in 2016.”

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