After months — years? — of rumors about whether Marissa Mayer would leave Yahoo or be fired, we've sort of gotten an answer. A new CEO will take over if and when the company's deal with Verizon is finalized, and Mayer will potentially exit with a $23 million severance package. To anyone who isn't the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, that's a lot of money, even though it is quite a cut from the $55 million Mayer was originally predicted to leave with as of last summer.
(In order for Mayer to get the severance payout, the deal with Verizon would need to be completed and she would need to be terminated without cause. Verizon would be responsible for paying out the severance as the acquiring company. And it may be a moot point, since Mayer stated as recently as last July that she intends to stay with the company in some capacity.)
Along with the news about Mayer's replacement, Yahoo revealed who will be stepping into her shoes as the new CEO of Altaba, as the company will be known: Thomas McInerney, the former head of media and internet company IAC. According to McInerney's offer letter, which was made public yesterday, he will make a $2 million base salary per year, not including an annual bonus (he's eligible for $2 million) and "long term incentive reward" of as much as $6 million.
That base salary is double the amount that Mayer took home annually. Her offer letter, released when she took the job in 2012, outlined $1 million in base pay plus an annual bonus. According to Fortune, the amount that McInerney is expected to rake in during his first year (that is, his base pay plus bonus) is more than Mayer made this past year. However, it's important to note that because Altaba is an investment company, it won't have equity, meaning that McInerney's total salary could wind up being less than Mayer made. He's also not going to be tasked with the same "transform the company" role that Mayer took on. He will be monitoring what Fortune says is essentially a mutual fund — what Yahoo will become if the acquisition is completed.
Whether or not you're a fan of Mayer's, her position as a woman at the helm of one of the biggest tech companies in the world makes her a pioneer. Much has been said and will continue to be said of her leadership of Yahoo. She was unable to turn the company around and the massive Yahoo hacking incident occurred on her watch. But she's also faced a very real glass cliff. Would the world have had as many opinions about a man in Mayer's position? Will McInerny be held to the same standards of success and failure? We'll have to wait and see.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story neglected to mention that Mayer's severance package is not yet guaranteed, and that Yahoo's acquisition by Verizon has not been finalized. It has been updated accordingly.