Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is set to receive nearly $141 million merger pay following Verizon’s purchase of the company, despite the SEC launching an investigation into whether Yahoo intentionally covered up a widespread hack and leak of its users data for nearly two years.
“One thing at Yahoo is likely to remain safe even if its users’ info and emails weren’t: CEO Marissa Mayer’s enormous nearly $141 million merger payday,” declared Fortune in its report. “In the wake of the financial crisis, regulators and lawmakers have pushed companies to adopt so-called ‘claw back’ policies for executive pay. The clauses are design to safeguard companies against paying bonuses and other incentive-based compensation to executives who earned it through fraudulent behavior.”
“What’s more, the policies are supposed to discourage that behavior in the first place. Clawbacks still aren’t invoked all that much, but they have come up lately. Earlier this year, two Wells Fargo (WFC, +1.42%) executives gave back some of their pay amid the bank’s recent phony accounts scandal,” the publication continued. “Yahoo has a clawback provision, and Mayer’s pay is covered by it. But the company’s policy only permits Yahoo to recoup executive pay ‘in the event of a restatement of incorrect Yahoo financial results’ — basically accounting fraud, and that’s it. Not covered by a clawback: Allegedly covering up two hacking incidents so you can complete a multi-billion sale of your company’s main business.”
Mayer was previously predicted to receive just $55 million in severance pay.
In both incidents, users had their names, email addresses, dates of birth, security questions and answers, phone numbers, and hashed passwords stolen by hackers, including the details of over 150,000 government employees.
Yahoo was reportedly aware of the first large hack, which led to over 500 million account details being stolen, in 2014. However, they failed to announce the incident to the public until late 2016.
On Monday, Breitbart News reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Yahoo in response to the security breaches that took place at the company, and whether they notified investors in a timely manner.
“The SEC’s investigation looks into whether Yahoo disclosed information about the data breaches in timely enough fashion,” wrote USA Today on the subject. “SEC rules require companies to disclose data breaches and cyberattacks as soon as it is determined the incidents could have an effect on investors.”
“As part of its investigation, the SEC last month requested documents from Yahoo,” they continued. “The agency has been seeking a model case for cybersecurity rules it issued in 2011.”
Mayer’s reign as CEO of Yahoo has often been controversial, with the CEO facing a lawsuit last year that claimed she purposely purged male employees, and with several employees of Tumblr, the popular micro-blogging platform owned by Yahoo, also claiming that Mayer and her management were responsible for the decline of the social network.
“No layoffs… this week!” joked Mayer, in response to questions raised by concerned employees.
A New York Times report also claimed that Mayer had denied repeated requests for additional investment in Yahoo’s cybersecurity, with the security team allegedly derisively referred to as “paranoids” inside the company.
Following both hacking incidents, and the revelation that Yahoo had been secretly scanning user emails for U.S. intelligence agencies, Verizon reportedly sought a significant discount on its purchase of the company, though the exact figure is currently unknown.