Henrique de Castro, the former Yahoo chief operating officer who was fired from his executive position after only 15 months on the job, has been granted a severance package totaling $58 million.
De Castro joined Yahoo in October 2012 after serving as vice president Global Media and Platforms at Google. He was the first significant hire by fellow former Google executive Marissa Mayer, who became CEO in July 2012. De Castro was charged with the task of revamping Yahoo’s ad sales, and he served as Mayer’s second-in-command until he was let go for poor performance in January 2014.
According to USA Today, all but $1 million of De Castro’s large severance was based on the value of the equity award he was granted to lure him from Google. Yahoo’s market value greatly increased in De Castro’s relatively short time at the company, taking his holdings from $17 million to $57 million. The majority of this success stems from Yahoo’s 24% stake in China’s widely popular Alibaba Group.
The Economic Times reports that Mayer will not pick another chief operating officer as a result of her failed hire with de Castro.
According to market research and analytics group ComScore, Yahoo accomplished the unthinkable this July—surpassed Google in U.S. web traffic.
This is the first time since May 2011 that Yahoo edged out competitors for the top spot in ComScore’s monthly list. The ranking is a good sign for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who left Google last year to run the somewhat declining company.
“Yahoo’s showing is an important symbol that Mayer can rightfully point to as an indication that the company at least is no longer losing ground,” wrote Robert Hof, a contributor for Forbes. “Mayer herself noted during Yahoo’s quarter conference call that its traffic had risen in June from a year ago, which she said was unprecedented for an established company that had been on the decline.”
In a conference call with analysists last month, Mayer explained her vision for Yahoo as such: “Hire and retain a great team; build inspiring products that will attract users and increased traffic; that traffic will increase advertiser interest and ultimately translate to revenue.”
Analysts at ComScore are unsure of the exact reasons behind Yahoo’s stellar performance. The company garnered 196.6 million unique visitors in July, compared to Google’s 192.3 million visitors. The calculated numbers do not include traffic to blogging site Tumblr, which was acquired by Yahoo earlier this year for $1 billion.
“Seems there are other factors at play,” said ComScore in a statement to MarketingLand.
Also not included in ComScore’s numbers was data pertaining to mobile traffic, the absence of which Hof states could be “potentially huge.”
This is only the third month since April 2008 that Google did not occupy ComScore’s top stop in terms of American web traffic.
At Yahoo’s first annual shareholder meeting, stockholder George Polis stood to ask CEO Marissa Mayer a question and prefaced it with a comment on her physical appearance.
"I'm Greek and I'm a dirty old man, and you look attractive," Polis said, following with a question on dividends.
The manly male audience laughed at his comment while Mayer shrugged it off and allowed her colleague to answer Polis’ question.
That was the first in a slew of other irrelevant comments and questions asked by shareholders during the meeting, including who she would support during the Green Bay Packers vs. 49ers game.
Mayer was also asked why she was not a better advocate for shareholders on the Walmart board of directors, of which she is a member. Mayer briskly reminded the audience that the meeting was on Yahoo stockholders, not Walmart, and she dismissed further questions on the topic.
The Huffington Post pointed out that many of the audiences’ questions stemmed from pure sexism and noted that no one would ever stand up in a meeting and ask Mark Zuckerburg inane questions.
Returning to the purpose of the meeting, Mayer was finally able to share the company’s skyrocketing statistics. Both Flickr and Yahoo mobile email have seen more than a 50 percent increase in usage in what Mayer expects will make Yahoo more competitive.
“All of our growth is going to start with our users,” she said, praising the company’s acquirement of user-motivated Tumblr.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claims the negative media coverage of CEO Marissa Mayer and her decision to ban telecommuting at Yahoo! centered on the fact that she is a woman.
While delivering a lecture at Stanford University on Tuesday night to promote her memoir “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead,” Sandberg claimed that in similar situations, the media did not pounce on male executives.
“It is really hard to know what is happening at Yahoo,” Sandberg said. “There have been no public statements. But the scrutiny, the media firestorm, is about her being a woman. Full stop. Best Buy did the same thing. When it's a man, no one pays attention."
Mayer, who built a nursery beside her office to care for her newborn son, was criticized after she announced in February that Yahoo! would be bringing their work-at-home employees back into the office by June 1. The Yahoo! staff memo ordering the change stated, “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home... We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.”
Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly announced in March that it will no longer allow employees to telecommute. The electronic giant also suffered financially over the years. Best Buy Matt Furman said, “Bottom line, it’s ‘all hands on deck’ at Best Buy and that means having employees in the office as much as possible to collaborate and connect on ways to improve our business.”
Mayer, 37, joined the “Lean In” movement two weeks ago, writing a letter about the risk she took in leaving Google and joining the struggling Yahoo! while pregnant.
At the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, Sandberg’s book is all about women leaning in and embracing career hurdles instead of putting off changes that could interrupt their home lives.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer, has expressed that she is an ally for Marissa Mayer after she made the controversial order for employees to work in the office.
In an article published about Sandberg’s first book, she said Mayer is “a sort of feminist manifesto” and suggested that people are critical of her because she is a woman.
Mayer released the controversial memo last month, which forbid employees from working at home.
“Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home...we need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together,” the memo said.
Employees expressed frustration with the memo, and criticized Mayer for building a nursery adjoining her office, a luxury most of her workers can’t afford to have.
Sandberg, also a mother, said she approved of Mayer’s decision.
“No one knows what happened there. I think flexibility is important for women and for men. But there are some jobs that are superflexible and some that aren’t,” she said.
In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will To Lead, will be published next week, and is classified as a memoir offering career guidance to women. She said women are able to succeed in the corporate world by having good fortune, working hard and getting help from other people. But she emphasizes that women need to be more ambitious.
The book incorporates many of Sandberg’s experiences as she climbed the corporate ladder, first working at Google and then at Facebook. She is now one of the most powerful women in the tech industry.
She recounted an experience where a group of all-male financiers could not even tell her where the female toilet was because no one had ever asked for it.
“Am I the only woman to have pitched a deal here in an entire year?” she asked them.
The client said, “I think so, or maybe you’re the only one who had to use the bathroom.”
The key advice in the story is to not “lean back” when it comes to living life, but to “lean in” and give 100% in every area of life.
“When it comes to ambition to lead...men, boys, outnumber girls and women. Women attribute their success to working hard, luck, and help from other people. Men will attribute whatever success they have to their own core skills,” she said.
Jacqueline Reses, who co-wrote the memo released by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, is such a supporter of the rules that she is commuting from New York to California to work in the offices.
The commute takes her 6,000 miles round trip, though she could choose to work in the small satellite office in New York.
Reses, 42, is married with three young children. While it is not clear how often she commutes back and forth, one of the trips likely includes an overnight flight on Fridays so she can be with her family on the weekends.
Her husband, Matthew Apfel, is also extremely busy, as he is chief digital officer at CORE Media and oversees the marketing of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.
Reses was hired by Mayer to be the Executive Vice President of People and Development.
When she joined the Yahoo team, she was seen as “the real deal” by analysts. Mayer believes she has “fresh perspectives” and “tremendous energy.”
She went to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and spent 10 years at Apax Partners and seven years at Goldman Sachs before she joined Yahoo in September.
Crain’s New York Business named her one of the “Most Influential Women,” and Dealmaker magazine called her “Dealmaker of the Year.”
Her hardwork and dedication has prompted her to commute seven hours from New York to San Francisco and back, just to work at Yahoo’s headquarters.
Reses, her husband and children live in a $2.5 million 11th floor apartment in the West Village of Manhattan. They also own a home in the Hamptons which they are trying to sell.
The memo she co-wrote with Mayer explains a new ban on working from home, and has caused much controversy.
A spokesman for Yahoo said, “We don’t discuss internal matters. This isn’t a broad industry view on working from home - this is about what is right for Yahoo, right now.”