Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

“Big, Big Bucks”: Yahoo Set to Release What It Paid to Hire Marissa Mayer

Later today, Yahoo will release what is likely to be a very juicy regulatory filing about what it paid to get former Google exec Marissa Mayer to become CEO.

While I could not obtain the exact numbers — the compensation plan is being protected like the crown jewels of England — a source on the board of the Silicon Valley Internet giant said it is “big, big bucks.”

So big, apparently, that the discussion over the money — which is a combination of cash and stock — was hotly debated by the directors as to whether the high-profile exec was worth the large amount.

While Mayer is considered a highly competent tech exec, a very strong decision-maker, adept at product innovation, some of the board raised concerns about her, too. One issue: She had been passed over by Google CEO Larry Page for one of the major unit jobs in his reorganization of the company, while others in her peer group had been promoted.

That said, others argued that Mayer was just the kind of disruptive agent of change that Yahoo needs, especially because she could inspire its engineers and also attract much needed talent.

Also of importance, a vision she presented to the board of doubling down on Yahoo’s once mighty advertising technology and search businesses.

In a rapid-fire series of meetings with small groups of Yahoo staffers this week, Mayer has grilled the employees on a range of issues in what everyone I spoke to described as a no-nonsense and cut-to-the-point manner.

“She is incredibly smart and has already shaken up the thinking by calling people out,” said one person who has attended the meetings. “But she has also not suffered fools.”

One refrain she made in a number of the gatherings was that Yahoo needed more technical staff.

“We need more engineers,” said she said to several groups.

Such talk has been greeted with glee by the product side of Yahoo, which has long felt that they have been neglected.

“The geeks could not be more thrilled she is here,” one Yahoo employee said.

We’ll soon see how much that glee is going to cost.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”