Terry Semel (born February 24, 1943) is an American corporate executive who was the chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Incorporated. Previously, Semel spent 24 years at Warner Bros., where he served as chairman and co-chief executive officer. In June 2007, Semel resigned as CEO due in part to pressure from shareholders' dissatisfaction over Semel's compensation (in 2006 - salary $1, stock options worth $70 million) and performance.
Semel was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Mildred (née Wenig) and Ben Semel. His father was a women's coat designer and his mother was a bus company executive. He was raised in Bay Terrace, a community in Bayside, Queens. He was the middle child and has two sisters. At the age of 23, he graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn with a B.S. degree in accounting.
In April 2001, Semel was granted stock options with an SEC Fair Value of over $110 million as a bonus to join Yahoo. During June 2006, Terry Semel's annual salary was reduced to one dollar.
As CEO, Semel approved Yahoo!'s cooperation with Chinese officials to release previously confidential Yahoo! information to the Chinese government. This action by Yahoo! was not well received and Semel showed signs of regret as to how that information was being used. For example, in a widely publicized exchange at The Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital conference, Semel was asked if Yahoo! would have cooperated with Nazi Germany. In response, Semel, who is Jewish, stated, "I don’t know how I would have felt then." He added, "I don’t feel good about what’s happening in China today." When questioned on this topic in a Q & A discussion with Peter Bazalgette at The Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention in 2005, his response was "We have to abide by the laws in the countries in which we operate"..
Quotes by Terry Semel
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