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Hefty incentive package for new Yahoo! CEO

10 Jan 2012

New Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson takes over the reins officially today, with a filing by the company revealing just how keen the directors are for the former PayPal president to perform. 

Thompson’s base salary will be US$1 million, plus a performance-based bonus of between US$1 million and US$2 million. 

The company will also pay a one-off cash bonus of US$1.5 million plus US$6.5 million in restricted stock options to compensate Thompson for losses caused by leaving PayPal.

The really big money, though, is in stock incentives, where Thompson will be eligible for a US$11 million annual equity grant and a one-off additional equity grant of US$5 million. The ultimate value of these will depend on the performance of Yahoo! shares.

Thompson’s appointment comes four months after the Yahoo! board fired his predecessor, Carol Bartz. He is the company’s fourth CEO in five years, and is tasked with finding a new niche for the former powerhouse that has wilted under the might of Google and Facebook. 

"My immediate focus will be on getting to know the entire team and hearing more from all the Yahoo!s,” Thompson says in the release announcing his appointment, "working closely with the engineers and product teams, and diving deeply into our products and services to learn more about what our more than 700 million users find most engaging and useful.

"Clearly, speed is important but we will attack both the opportunity ahead and the competitive challenges with an appropriate balance of urgency and thoughtfulness.”

Thompson joined PayPal in 2005 as CTO and senior vice-president, taking the role of president in 2008. Prior to PayPal he worked for Inovant, a subsidiary of Visa.