The move is bound to make Google CEO Eric Schmidt a little nervous. Yahoo! was one of the pioneers of internet search but has lost ground to Google over the past few years. By poaching top-level execs from Google, Yahoo! is attempting to shake the giant’s dominance of the market. And it may yet win the day, as de Castro hints in a statement today, ‘This is a pivotal point in Yahoo's history, and I believe strongly in the opportunity ahead.’
Yahoo! is certainly staking a lot of de Castro. If he brings home the bacon, the new hire is eligible for an annual bonus of up to 90% of his $600,000 salary. He’s also receiving a golden handshake of $1m cash within one week of joining Yahoo! and will be given restricted stock units and performance-based stock options totalling $36m over the next four years. That’s quite the remuneration deal - CEO Mayer’s package is only $10m more (if she meets all her targets, that is).
Mayer is the tech firm’s third chief executive in the space of a year and its clear that this is the final – very expensive – push towards grabbing back market share and increasing Yahoo!’s sagging sales. Mayer returned from maternity leave after just two weeks to continue the roll-out of her new strategy. It’s crunch time.