The news might seem a little insignificant for those not keenly attuned to Silicon Valley culture, but recent talk about the salary of departing Yahoo COO Henrique de Castro is certainly making waves coast-to-coast.
Case in point: The New York Times is now running a piece describing how Castro, in a move that some are likely to define as "eye-opening," ultimately made more at Yahoo than his boss, CEO Marissa Mayer.
In fact, de Castro pretty much made more than... almost everybody.
According to the Times, he was the region's eighth-highest paid executive in 2012 — higher than that of many of the area's big-name executives like Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman (at a $15.4 million pay package), eBay CEO John Donahoe ($29.7 million), and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff ($22.1 million).
Mayer, who pulled in $36.6 million (£22.3 million) annually, fell just a bit short of de Castro's $39.2 million (£23.8 million). In total, he'll be leaving Yahoo having worked a grand total of 15 months for anywhere from $88 to $109 million (£53.6 - £66.4 million) in total payout.
It leads some to question just how, or why, Mayer made such an expensive and seemingly incorrect choice in her decision to poach de Castro from Google and plant him squarely in charge of Yahoo's advertising.
According to one anonymous source, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, "There were tensions after the first couple of months" between Mayer and de Castro as a result of the latter's alleged inability to deliver the kind of growth and performance that Mayer was expecting when she hired him.
Indeed, Mayer didn't have quite as many flattering words upon de Castro's exit as she did during his hire, when she praised him as being an "incredibly accomplished and rigorous business leader" and "the perfect fit" for the company.
"The beginning of a new year always provides time for reflection. As we enter 2014, I couldn't be more proud of what Yahoo accomplished in 2013 or more optimistic about what we'll accomplish in 2014. I want to thank all of you for being so engaged and so thoughtful around the direction of the company," Mayer wrote in an internal memo to Yahoo employees this past week.
"During my own reflection, I made the difficult decision that our COO, Henrique de Castro, should leave the company. I appreciate Henrique's contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors," she added.
As for his salary, however, famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Marc Andreessen took to Twitter to offer a few general musings about how, and why, executive salaries can seem to spiral out of control at times.
"Conventional theories of exec compensation being so high either (1) what market can bear or (2) board/mgmt agency problem out of control," Andreessen wrote.
"Alternate theory is exec comp so high as insurance policy against catastrophic visible public failure; exec firings can be career ending. From this standpoint, top exec especially at highly visible and controversial public company should demand a lot due to career risk of failure. Particularly since exec blowups at this level not always based on performance; can be lots of political juju, need for fall guy, etc.," he added.
Image: Flickr (jdlasica)