Yahoo CEO Mayer Eligible for Pay as High as $59 Million

Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer,the new CEO of Yahoo! and formerly of Google, sits next to a sculpture by Dale Chihuly, a famous glass artist, in the living room of her Four Seasons penthouse in San Francisco on April 20, 2008. Photographer: Darcy Padilla/Redux

Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer stands to receive as much as $59 million in compensation over the coming years after agreeing to leave Google Inc. to run the troubled Web portal.

The total includes $3 million in salary and potential bonus and $12 million in restricted stock units and stock options, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. She is also set to receive $30 million in one-time retention awards and $14 million to make up for stock-based compensation she would have received at Google.

Mayer, 37, took the helm July 17, the day Yahoo reported second-quarter sales that were little changed from a year earlier. The results underscored the challenge Mayer faces as the fifth CEO in three years who’s attempting to revive growth at Yahoo. The company lags behind Facebook Inc. and Google in luring the online advertising that makes up most of sales.

“You have to build in sort of a risk premium,” said David Larcker, a professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. “She has to change the strategy and redeploy assets - - make it work. And she’s a very well-known person, aggressive, successful. You’re going to have to pay a sizable wage.”

Mayer will juggle her role as CEO with being a new mother. She said on her Twitter page that she and her husband, Zachary Bogue, are expecting a baby boy.

Past Pay

Yahoo set Scott Thompson’s potential compensation as high as $27 million before he stepped down in May over inaccuracies in his resume. Carol Bartz, his predecessor at the Sunnyvale, California-based company, stood to earn about $10 million during her last year on the job. She was fired in September amid frustration among investors such as Daniel Loeb over her handling of strategy.

Mayer followed Ross Levinsohn, who ran Yahoo on an interim basis after Thompson resigned.

Yahoo edited language in its offer letter since the one it gave Thompson in January. Mayer’s requires her to affirm that “all information provided to Yahoo! or its agents with regard to your background is true and correct,” while Thompson’s stated only that the offer is contingent on a background check.

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