2 top Yahoo execs get bigger bonuses

March 8, 2008 7:27:45 PM PST
Yahoo Inc. increased two top executives' bonuses last year amid a deepening slump that set the stage for Microsoft Corp.'s unsolicited bid for the struggling Internet pioneer. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company paid its president, Susan Decker, a $1.1 million bonus in 2007, according to documents filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That represented a 29 percent increase from the $850,000 bonus she received in 2006, when she was still Yahoo's chief financial officer.

Yahoo promoted Decker in June last year when co-founder Jerry Yang replaced Terry Semel as chief executive officer.

The company awarded its general counsel, Michael Callahan, with a $225,000 bonus for 2007. He received a $200,000 bonus in 2006.

The company didn't explain what Decker and Callahan did to merit the larger bonuses.

The SEC requires Yahoo to spell out the reasons when the company files a proxy statement for its annual meeting later this year. The proxy statement also will contain other details about the total compensation, including salaries and stock options, paid to Decker and Yahoo's top executives in 2007.

In Friday's filing, Yahoo disclosed it set Decker's 2008 salary at $815,000.

With rival Google Inc. widening its lead in the lucrative search advertising market, Yahoo's profits slipped by 12 percent in 2007.

It marked the second consecutive year of lower earnings, a funk that caused Yahoo's stock price to plunge 50 percent between December 2005 and Feb. 1 this year - the day that Microsoft announced a buyout offer initially valued at $44.6 billion, or $31 per share.

Yahoo has rejected Microsoft's bid and has been exploring other possible deals with News Corp.'s MySpace.com and Time Warner Inc.'s AOL.

The effort to elude Microsoft is being steered by Yang, who received a $1 salary and didn't get a bonus last year. Most of Yang's estimated $2.3 billion fortune is held in Yahoo stock.

Yahoo also gave its chief financial officer, Blake Jorgensen, a $405,000 bonus for 2007. He didn't join Yahoo until June last year.