April 30, 2009

Former Yahoo CEO Yang Receives Customary $1 Salary For 2008

Former CEO and co-founder of Yahoo Jerry Yang's 2008 compensation package was limited to his customary $1 salary during his final year as chief executive of the company, The Associated Press reported.

Yang stepped down as CEO in January after he rebuffed Microsoft Corp.'s $47.5 billion bid to buy the Internet company.

Yahoo filed a proxy statement disclosing the pay of Yang and its other top executives on Wednesday.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company's new leader, Carol Bartz, is trying to end a three-year slump that has devastated Yahoo's stock price.

Additionally, Yahoo President Susan Decker left the company rather than work for the woman who beat her out for the top job. Also planning to leave is Yahoo's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen, who will exit the company as soon as Bartz can find his replacement.

However, Bartz is carrying out her plan to lay off nearly 700 people, or about 5 percent of Yahoo's work force in the near future.

The 40-year old Yang has become wealthy from Yahoo's stock since he started the Web site in 1994 with fellow Stanford University graduate student David Filo.

But Yang suffered huge losses on paper last year as Yahoo shares lost nearly half their value. The plunge left Yang's 3.9 percent stake worth about $600 million less at the end of last year.

Executive pay based on salary, bonuses, incentives, perquisites, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the value of stock options and other awards granted during the year have been calculated by The Associated Press.

The former CEO never received more than a $1 salary last year. He wasn't the only Silicon Valley leader to settle for a buck last year, following the example of other Internet innovators such as Apple's CEO Steve Jobs and Google's co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who also worked for $1 in 2008.

Bartz, however, is starting off with a $1 million salary and already has been guaranteed another $10 million in cash and stock this year to make up for the benefits and other awards she gave up at her former employer, Autodesk Inc.

The new CEO will also be eligible to receive several more million dollars in bonuses and stands to benefit from 5 million stock options granted to her during her hiring. Those stock options will be heavily valued in Yahoo's proxy statement next year.

Yahoo's annual meeting for its June 25 proxy statement this year is expected to be more lucrative than last year's affair when activist investor Carl Icahn led a shareholder uprising against Yang and the company's other board members.

Icahn and many other shareholders were outraged with the way Yang handled Microsoft's offer last May to buy Yahoo for $33 per share.

In response, Yang offered Icahn, who is one of 12 directors up for election in June, a seat on the company's board.

But given that Yahoo shares ended Wednesday at $14.02, there will likely remain some bitterness over the squandered opportunity to sell Yahoo to Microsoft.


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