Terry Semel (born on February 24, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.) 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 had earned over $500 million in his tenure at Yahoo, while Yahoo's stock appreciated at 40% per year. In the same period, Yahoo's closest competitor, Google, saw stock growth of about 55% per year.
Semel's 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. On March 10, 2004 Semel was granted options to purchase Yahoo stock worth $120 million at an exercise price of $41.70 ( the low closing price for 2004 was $41.65). Within a month that stock was trading at $56.00, making him a profit of $50 million on that grant alone. Between 2003 and 2006 he netted $450 million as a result of exercising options and selling stock. On March 7, 2007 he held stock and unexercised options with a value of $350 million, which he was granted as compensation. During June 2006, Terry Semel's annual salary was reduced to $1, in exchange for millions of stock options in Yahoo. His previous annual salary was US$600,000.