Page 3 Profile: Henrique De Castro, Tech executive


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The Independent Culture

Another Silicon Valley success story?

Indeed. De Castro, who was already a highly paid Google executive, yesterday announced he was moving to struggling internet giant Yahoo for a potential $58m (£36m) pay packet over four years. The 47-year-old businessman will take the role of chief operating officer, overseeing Yahoo's sales and media in a bid to increase its stagnant advertising revenue. He will get an annual salary of $600,000, but bonuses, stock options and other benefits will make that six-figure sum look like a drop in the ocean. He's even being given a $1 million golden hello just for agreeing to work there.

It's hard to feel too elated for him

He was a top sales guru at Google, and prior to that held positions at Dell and McKinsey. He said of his appointment: "This is a pivotal point in Yahoo's history, and I believe strongly in the opportunity ahead." CEO Marissa Mayer – herself poached from Google earlier this year – said de Castro is "an incredibly accomplished and rigorous business leader" with an advertising skill set that makes him "the perfect fit for Yahoo as we propel the business to its next phase of growth". He will be based in London for the time being before he joins Mayer across the pond.

Is Mayer simply employing her friends?

It's clear that Yahoo needs a dramatic turnaround – its advertising revenue was $2bn in the first half of this year compared to Google's $21bn – and for that they need the best people on board. But Mayer will need to ensure that paying such big sums to top talent doesn't alienate shareholders. Some investors expressed concern over the company's compensation scheme even prior to Mayer and de Castro being signed. Behind closed doors, they'll also be pondering whether Yahoo is capable of reclaiming its position at the top of the tech tree. It currently accounts for just 12.2 per cent of online searches, putting it in third place behind Google and Microsoft's Bing. The verb "to Google" has long been a part of the popular lexicon, and hearing "Bing it" isn't uncommon. "To Yahoo" doesn't have the same ring.