The appointment of former Google executive Marissa Mayer as CEO of Yahoo had tech industry tongues wagging Monday when the surprise announcement was made. Today, there's just as much talk about how much she stands to earn at Yahoo, but what people are saying depends on where they are getting their news.
The complex compensation package, revealed in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, appears to be testing financial journalists, who are coming up with a wide range of estimates.
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"Yahoo to Pay CEO Mayer $100 Million Over Five Years," reported The Wall Street Journal, explaining that Mayer would receive $5.4 million this year and around $20 million per year for each year after. All Things D, a Wall Street Journal sister site, reported Yahoo "could be paying its new CEO Marissa Mayer a total of close to $60 million."
CNN managed to find $71 million over five years in the regulatory filing, while Reuters almost agreed, reporting the pay "could total more than $70 million in salary, restricted stock, and stock options over five years."
When you're earning that much money, what's a million dollars anyway?
Among initial reporting, The Los Angeles Times came up with the fattest package: $129 million over five years -- more than double the All Things D total.
Given the confusion, perhaps the savviest reporting came from The New York Times, which didn't attempt to add up the numbers. "Yahoo's Mayer Gets Hefty Pay Package," it said.
The complex make-up of the compensation package is behind the different numbers.
Mayer will get a basic salary of $1 million.
That's simple enough.
Bonuses will total up to $2 million per year, but can be $4 million this year.
That's not difficult, either. But then there are stock options, restricted stock, equity grants and a one-time retention equity award.
And the language is hardly plain English: