Marissa Mayer Will Pay One Yahoo Exec ~$10 Million To Stick Around

Marissa Mayer against black background

Photo: Staci Kramer

Normally, when a CEO takes over a company in need of a turnaround, the first move is to clean out the C-suite and replace direct reports with new people that can be trusted.Over at Yahoo, however, Marissa Mayer has, in one very important case, decided to go against this conventional wisdom.

Mayer has decided to keep Yahoo chief revenue officer Michael Barrett in his current job. AdAge first reported this decision.

Barrett, whose title could also be “Yahoo Ad Sales Boss,” was hired earlier this summer from Google, by Yahoo’s departed interim CEO Ross Levinsohn.

Barrett doesn’t come cheap.

Two sources familiar with his compensation package say his total annual take-home pay, including stock grants and salary, will be around $7 million this year. In addition to that figure, Barrett received about $4.5 million worth of stock when he joined Yahoo earlier this summer.

He’s probably worth every penny to Mayer.

AdMeld CEO Michael BarrettMichael Barrett

Photo: AdMeld

Barrett is widely admired in the online sales community – both by the people he’s selling to, and by his competitors at AOL, Facebook and other huge display advertising sellers.Barrett is especially valuable to Mayer because she is as not deeply informed of or as interested in Yahoo’s brand advertising business as she is Yahoo’s user-facing products. 

Already, Barrett is helping Mayer make useful connections in the industry. During one of Mayer’s trips to New York earlier this summer, Barrett brought one of his industry friends, former Yahoo ad sales boss Greg Coleman, out to dinner, so the three could discuss what could be learned from Yahoo’s ad sales glory days.

Over her career, Mayer has shown a lack of enthusiasm for glad-handing with Madison Avenue executives. 

One source who worked Google’s ad sales leaders years ago, tells us that the company used to arrange big get-together with Madison Avenue agency buyers, CMO customers, and Google executives, engineers, and product leaders. Many of Google’s higher-profile engineers and product leaders often agreed to attend these meetings – but never Mayer, who consistently abstained.

So, how much will keeping Barrett be worth to Yahoo and Mayer?

One source, deeply informed of Yahoo’s business and well-connected with its executives, told us that if Yahoo’s ad sales group underwent massive changeover at the top, it would have a ripple effect throughout the sales org. This source predicted that sales revenues would suffer to the tune of $50 million to $100 million in Q3, and $100 million to $200 million in Q4.  (For context: Yahoo sales totaled $1.2 billion last quarter.)

Here are some other things Mayer is focused on at Yahoo:

Produced by Daniel Goodman

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