Yahoo chief clicks

Semel's turnaround of struggling Netco pays off

With shares in Yahoo hovering at a three-year high, CEO Terry Semel’s decision to take over the Netco after leaving Warner Bros. three years ago is looking like a savvy and lucrative move.

Company revealed in a recent SEC filing that the chief exec received 900,000 immediately vestable shares in March as part of his compensation package.

In the wake of Yahoo’s record first quarter earnings and 2 for 1 stock split announced Wednesday, which sent the company’s stock soaring more than 16% the next day, those shares are now worth more than $13 million.

Options were set at $41.70 per share; Yahoo stock closed at $56.21 Thursday and was at $55.14 at the end of trading on Monday.

The options were part of an overall 2.9 million share option the company granted to Semel. The remaining 2 million shares will become vestable in March of 2008, although that date could be moved up if certain targets are met.

Semel earned a relatively paltry $600,000 in income in 2003, a 33% raise from the previous year. His salary is expected to stay the same this year.

In 2002, however, the CEO received a $895,500 bonus. Last year he received none. Semel has made a number of high-profile acquisitions since taking over Yahoo such as employment listing site HotJobs and search advertising firm Overture, as well as expanding the company’s fee-based services.

Most of Yahoo’s growth has come along with the overall comeback of Internet advertising, which reached a new record in 2003.

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