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Yahoo's Semel 'tremendously overpaid,' says expert

Shareholder advisory firms urge shareholders to protest Yahoo CEO's $71 million salary package by voting against re-election of three board members.

A few proxy advisory firms are urging shareholders to protest Yahoo Chief Executive Terry Semel's $71 million salary package by voting against re-election of three members of the board at Tuesday's annual meeting, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Yahoo is struggling to get its ship back on course. After a company reorganization late last year and disappointing first-quarter results, some analysts have speculated that this year may be Semel's last. Last year, the company's revenue growth slowed, its net income slid 60 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period in 2005, and its stock fell 35 percent in the face of formidable competition from Google and Microsoft jumping into the search advertising fray.

Meanwhile, Semel is one of the highest paid CEOs in the country, complains Institutional Shareholder Services. Semel's pay is more than 900 percent above the median his counterparts make at companies like eBay, says Proxy Governance.

"He's tremendously overpaid," compensation expert Graef Crystal says bluntly. "He's off the map."

Yahoo spokeswoman Helena Maus told the newspaper: "Under Terry's leadership, the company has a clear strategy to create stockholder value, and the company is well-positioned to capitalize on the substantial growth opportunities ahead for the Internet."