Yahoo had a bad time in 2016. It took its last symbolic breaths as a crusty, once-powerful internet company, it had its email service banned on Capitol Hill, and—oh yeah!—it disclosed it suffered not one but two massive hacks of user data.
So, in what appears to be an effort to either drum up some good publicity or curry favor with her new Verizon overlords, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced today that she has agreed to bravely forego both her bonus and her equity grant because of the security woes.
From her blog:
As those who follow Yahoo know, in late 2014, we were the victim of a state-sponsored attack and reported it to law enforcement as well as to the 26 users that we understood were impacted. When I learned in September 2016 that a large number of our user database files had been stolen, I worked with the team to disclose the incident to users, regulators, and government agencies. However, I am the CEO of the company and since this incident happened during my tenure, I have agreed to forgo my annual bonus and my annual equity grant this year and have expressed my desire that my bonus be redistributed to our company’s hardworking employees, who contributed so much to Yahoo’s success in 2016.
The courageous decision was also included in the company’s Wednesday SEC filing. The documents noted that the decision to leave the bonus behind was that of Yahoo’s board, while the decision to forego the equity was Mayer’s. The filing also slipped in that Ron Bell, Yahoo’s general counsel, has resigned. See you later, Ron!
Curiously, both the SEC filing and Mayer’s blog post only refer specifically to the 2014 hack, in which a reported 500 million user accounts were breached. But neither mention the 2013 hack, in which data from more than one billion user accounts were stolen. It’s unclear what prompted this decision—legal reasons, perhaps?—but the company wouldn’t provide any answers or even comment on the omission beyond what it noted in today’s filing.
The SEC filing doesn’t specify what Mayer’s 2016 bonus and annual equity grant would have amounted to, but given that she was reportedly eligible for a $2 million bonus and a $40 million stock grant in 2015, you can be sure 2016's goodies wouldn’t have been chump change.