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Marissa Mayer's Yahoo exit will yield $23M "golden parachute"

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Latest MoneyWatch headlines 01:08

So that’s why they call it Yahoo (YHOO). Marissa Mayer will collect a $23 million payday when Verizon (VZ) completes its acquisition of the internet company and if she exits as CEO.

Under her severance package with Yahoo, which was disclosed in a regulatory filing on Monday, Mayer will receive over $3 million in cash and $20 million in stock if she steps down as chief executive of the company, which Verizon is buying for $4.48 billion. The deal is expected to close in June. 

Yahoo board member Thomas McInerney, the former chief financial officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC), will take over as CEO of the company, to be called Altaba, that’s left after Verizon completes the deal for Yahoo’s internet assets. 

Yahoo's billion user breach 06:24

Earlier this month, Mayer said in a blog post that she would forego an equity bonus for 2017 and a cash bonus for the prior year following revelations of two major hacks that resulted in the exposure of personal information belonging to more than 1 billion Yahoo users. Verizon, which had originally agreed to pay $4.83 million to acquire Yahoo’s core internet assets, slashed its offer by $350 million following news of the security breaches, which took place in 2013 and 2014.

For many, Mayer’s tenure at Yahoo will go down as a disappointment. Plucked from the ranks of Google (GOOG) in 2012, where she was an early employee, Mayer was considered instrumental to the internet giant’s success in search. Hopes were high that her expertise both in technology and content would help lead a turnaround at Yahoo, a web pioneer that made its name during the 1990s dot-com boom.

Yet like a string of previous Yahoo CEOs, she failed to revive the brand, which has lost luster over the years despite retaining a large global user baser. Mayer was also criticized for squandering company resources on acquisitions like blogging site Tumblr, which Yahoo bought in 2013 for $1.1 billion, and for showy -- but expensive -- hires like Katie Couric. 

Mayer’s defenders will note that Yahoo’s share price has nearly tripled during her time at the company’s helm.

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