Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job and wasn't deemed worthy of the $540,000 bonus he was eligible for in 2013. Yahoo previously disclosed de Castro would be getting a severance package, but didn't reveal the amount until a regulatory filing yesterday. "The board believed at the time Mr. de Castro was hired that he had a unique set of highly valuable skills and experiences that would be key to returning the company to long-term growth and success," Yahoo's compensation committee said in its defense of de Castro's severance pay. He was hired as Marissa Meyer's second-in-command in October 2012 and was in charge of ad sales.
The company's board said most of the severance stemmed from the costs of luring de Castro from his previous job at Google. De Castro's severance package wouldn't have been worth nearly as much if Yahoo's stock hadn't more than doubled during de Castro's brief tenure with the company. But those gains had little to do with the managerial acumen of de Castro, Mayer, or any other Yahoo executives; analysts trace almost all the increase in Yahoo's stock price to the company's 24% stake in China's Alibaba Group. Had Yahoo's stock price remained at roughly the same level as when de Castro joined the company, his severance package value would have been worth about $17 million. (Read more Yahoo stories.)