Meet the Disgraced Tech Executive Who Made $34,000 an Hour

A new, um, record

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Henrique De Castro
Sebastien Nogier / Reuters

Henrique De Castro, former Vice President Global Media and Platforms of Google, delivers a speech during a session at the Cannes Lions 2010 International Advertising Festival in Cannes, on June 23, 2010.

Henrique de Castro was supposed to be part of Yahoo’s historic turnaround. When the struggling technology giant hired him away from Google in 2012, not long after Marissa Mayer took over as CEO, it awarded him a whopping pay package—presumably one commensurate with its expectations for him.

Instead, he was ousted as first reported by Re/code, potentially setting him up to take with him as much as $109 million for his trouble. He was paid more than even his star boss, according to analysis by the New York Times and compensation research firm Equilar. de Castro, who was dismissed a mere 15 months after taking his post, will walk away with at least $88 million. (The precise amount depends on whether or not de Castro gets his full performance award for 2013, assuming he wasn’t fired for cause.)

What led to de Castro’s departure is a matter of white-hot speculation. More interesting is the huge payout, which not only raises questions about Yahoo’s board but also about how compensation culture in Silicon Valley is changing. If de Castro earns the full payout, he will have been one of the most lavishly compensated tech executives ever. Consider this bar napkin calculation:

15 months of service = about 319 work days
or 3,190 work hours, assuming a 10-hour work day
$109 million / 3,190 hours = $34,169 an hour (rounded down)

Obviously this is a rough estimate. Many tech executives work seven days a week and far more than 10 hours a day. And yet, it is stratospheric by any standard.

According to Equilar, de Castro was the eighth-highest-paid executive in the region. His total base compensation of $39.2 million, according to Equilar, was higher than eBay chief John Donahoe ($29.7 million), head Marc Benioff ($22.1 million) and Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard ($15.4 million).

Mayer, by contrast, earned $36.6 million.