Yahoo’s former CEO Terry Semel received $489.6 million in total compensation during his six year run at the company.
This jaw-dropping reminder of how much money Semel was paid to run Yahoo into the ground comes from the Wall Street Journal’s wrap up of the 25 top paid executives of public companies over the last decade.
There are 7 tech executives on the list, and Semel is the fourth highest paid in the lot of tech execs (no. 8 overall).
What did Yahoo do between 2001 and 2007 under Semel’s reign? Not much. And that’s the problem.
Semel spent most of his time at Yahoo getting crushed by Google, an upstart he had a chance to buy. Later, he passed on Facebook and YouTube, too. Semel’s biggest problem was a lack of focus. First he wanted Yahoo to be a media company. Then he didn’t.
Later, Yahoo got into enterprise, ecommerce and social media. None of it worked out especially well.
For all that, he collected an astounding $489.6 million, or almost half a billion dollars. The vast majority of his compensation came in the form of options.