Yahoo! chairperson's salary cut to $1 a year

Yahoo! says chairperson Terry Semel’s annual salary will be reduced to $1 until 2008 in exchange for millions of company stock options that will give its chief executive an opportunity to build on the $429-million windfall that he has reaped during the past three years.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company awarded Semel with six million stock options at an exercise price of $31,59—the closing price on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Wednesday when Yahoo!‘s board approved the grant. Yahoo! disclosed the reward in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing late on Friday.

Semel (63) also will be eligible to receive a bonus of up to one million stock options annually through 2008 as part of a renegotiated contract that lowered his annual salary from $600 000 to $1 during the next three years.

Google, one of Yahoo!‘s biggest rivals, also pays a $1 salary to its CEO, Eric Schmidt, and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Like Semel, the Google trio have been making millions by selling company stock.

Yahoo! described its compensation changes as a way to motivate and retain Semel, a former movie-studio executive who lifted the internet powerhouse of the dot-com doldrums after taking over the helm five years ago.

Since Semel’s arrival, Yahoo!‘s stock price has tripled despite a recent slump in the shares.
Semel has cashed in on the run-up by selling 18,1-million of his stock options for a gain of $429-million during the past three years, according to SEC documents.

Semel still held another 17,7-million unexercised stock options before Yahoo! replenished his supply this week.

Yahoo! also gave another 5,43-million stock options with an exercise price of $31,59 to four other top executives: Daniel Rosensweig, chief operating officer; Susan Decker, chief financial officer; Farzad Nazem, chief technical officer; and Michael Callahan, general counsel.

Most of those rewards went to Rosensweig and Decker, who each received 2,1-million stock options.

Yahoo! shares fell 47 cents on Friday to close at $31.52 on the Nasdaq.—Sapa-AP

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