Semel Swaps Salary For Stock

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Yahoo CEO Terry Semel will trade all but one dollar of his annual salary in exchange for receiving assorted shares of Yahoo and stock options.

In Silicon Valley, no one beats Yahoo’s CEO when it comes to matching paychecks. ZDNet noted how Semel’s $56.8 million in compensation last year easily bested that of executives with similar titles, as a survey cited in the San Francisco Chronicle noted.

Although four of the top seven executives in that survey all have Yahoo on their business cards, presumably printed in money-green ink, Semel will experience a salary cut for 2008. The company’s board of directors have decided to nudge their CEO’s salary down to a symbolic $1, and will make up the difference with stock and options.

A slew of Form 4 and 8-K filings on June 2nd with the SEC discussed how Yahoo would compensate its top officers. Semel stands to gain a discretionary annual bonus of a fully vested stock option of up to 1 million shares each year from 2006 to 2008.

The top man also has a retention bonus in play of 6 million option shares with a strike price of $31.59. Those options vest over a three year period, with 25%, 35%, and 40% vesting on each anniversary date that Semel remains ensconced in Yahoo’s helm.

Other Yahoo officers, like CFO Susan Decker and COO Dan Rosenweig, will maintain salaries of $500,000 annually, with $1 million cash bonuses possible each year from 2006 through 2009. The board also provided stock options of 2.1 million shares for each of the two officers, with a number of the shares vesting each year over a four year period.

Yahoo’s stock has gyrated from 28.60 to 43.66 over the past 52 weeks, as denoted by MarketWatch. The stock last traded at 31.52.

The $1 salary has come back into vogue. Lee Iacocca famously accepted a $1 salary when he was working toward Chrysler’s recovery many years ago. Now, such iconic names as Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have switched to the $1 salary.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Semel Swaps Salary For Stock
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