Yahoo chief picked up golden handshake of £34m after just 15 months in the job

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Yahoo’s recently fired chief operating officer left the internet company with a severance package of $58m (£34m) even though he lasted just 15 months in the job.

The disclosure in a regulatory filing could lead to more second-guessing about Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to hire Henrique de Castro as her second-in-command in October 2012.

Ms Mayer dumped Mr de Castro in January after concluding he was not executing her plan for reviving Yahoo’s lacklustre ad growth. Mr de Castro had been in charge of ad sales.

“Ultimately, Henrique was not a fit and that’s a very regrettable conclusion,” Ms Mayer told analysts in late January. “And it’s a conclusion that we tried very hard to avoid, but it was the right decision in the end for the company.”

After making the expensive mistake, Ms Mayer has said she will not pick another chief operating officer.

Mr de Castro’s severance pay more than doubled the amount that Yahoo paid Ms Mayer last year.

Her compensation was valued at $24.9 m (£15m), a 32 per cent decline from the previous year.

The decrease stemmed primarily from a stock award of $35m (£21m) she received in July 2012 when Yahoo persuaded her to leave her previous job as a top Google executive to become its chief executive.

Yahoo previously said Mr de Castro would be getting a severance package, but did not reveal the amount.

The company’s board said most of the severance stemmed from the costs of luring 
him from his previous job at Google.

Like many other senior Google executives, he would have received millions in stock by staying at the company. That prompted Yahoo to make up for some of the Google awards he had to relinquish when he defected.

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