Sunnyvale, California – Resuming office after a two-week maternity leave, Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, shocked the industry with a new delivery by appointing one of her former colleagues from Google Inc. Henrique de Castro as its chief operating officer, to help revive growth at a Web company beset by sagging sales.
De Castro, 47, has been Google’s former president of Global Media, Mobile, and Platforms, according to All Things D, which first reported that Mayer was close to poaching her former colleague, will soon be joining Yahoo as chief operating officer for a total compensation package valued at $56 million.
He will have wide responsibility of Yahoo’s business categories: sales, operations, media, and business development. He has served Google since 2006, and before that held jobs at Dell Inc. and McKinsey & Co.
“Henrique is an incredibly accomplished and rigorous business leader, and I’m personally thrilled to have him join Yahoo!’s strong leadership team,” Marissa Mayer former Googler herself and chief executive of Yahoo said in a statement. “His operational experience in internet advertising and his proven success in structuring and scaling global organizations make him the perfect fit for Yahoo! as we propel the business to its next phase of growth.”
Mayer, the fifth CEO in four years, is striving to restore stability to management ranks, bolster product innovation and repeal three years of declining revenue as Web users ditched Yahoo in favor of competitors Google and Facebook Inc. She hired Ken Goldman as chief financial officer last month, after adding former American Eagle Outfitters Inc. executive Kathy Savitt as chief marketing officer in August.
The move according to industry experts, “It is good for Yahoo and its shareholders to see the company actually attracting Silicon Valley talent,” said Paul Sweeney, Bloomberg Industries’ director of North American research. “Its recent history has been one of losing top talent. On this score, Marissa Mayer appears to be having a positive impact.”
However, this latest move could cost Yahoo more than $60 million, according to regulatory filings. In addition to his $600,000 base salary, de Castro will be granted up to $36 million in stock based on how long he stays at Yahoo and how well the company does while he is there. He is also getting $1 million to make up for salary he would have made at Google had he stayed, plus another $20 million in stock to make up for Google stock that has not vested yet.
Going forward, De Castro praised Yahoo’s “high-quality content, its renewed focus on outstanding user experience and its massive reach.”
“This is a crucial point in Yahoo!’s history, and I believe strongly in the opportunity ahead,” he said in a statement. “I cannot wait to join Marissa and the team and get started.”
According to the announcement, he has more than 20 years in strategic and operational experience, including “structuring and scaling multi-billion-dollar global businesses.”
But more importantly, Yahoo has been searching for a new COO since August, and as Google’s own game has boomeranged since the company is still down one CTO, now is the time perhaps Google should better review the golden handcuffs on the rest of its senior staff.