After a brief stint as Yahoo's (YHOO) interim chief executive, Ross Levinsohn is leaving the company that spurned him for Silicon Valley superstar Marissa Mayer.
Levinsohn -- who some had expected to take over as permanent CEO -- said in a statement Monday that "it is time for me to look for the next challenge."
The company is sending him off with 67,000 shares of restricted stock, worth $1 million at today's closing price of $15.98. The deal also includes 250,000 stock options valued at $15.80 a share and severance payments that include a year's salary and bonus.
Yahoo's filing said the options and stock are compensation for Levinsohn's brief service as interim CEO and president.
Levinsohn, 49, came to Yahoo in 2010 from News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media. At Yahoo, he ran the Internet giant's North American ad sales and then its media websites, and for 2?1/2 months following the abrupt departure of then-CEO Scott Thompson, he ran the Sunnyvale company. Thompson resigned in May in the wake of a flap over misstatements on his official resume.
For a while, Levinsohn -- with his background in media and advertising -- was touted as the logical choice to take over as permanent chief executive.
He and key shareholder and director Daniel Loeb seemed to share the same vision for the company.
Levinsohn wanted to focus on media and grab more premium advertising dollars on every platform with original content that draws advertising dollars from major brands. That seemed in line with the goals of Loeb, whose Third Point hedge fund staged a boardroom coup during the ouster of Thompson.
Instead, Yahoo shocked Silicon Valley two weeks ago by hiring Mayer, who has degrees in computer science, holds several patents, and who ran various initiatives at Google (GOOG). Loeb was said to have pushed for hiring her.
"Ross has done a terrific job during his time at Yahoo. We wish him all the best," Yahoo said in a statement.
Mayer wrote to employees that Levinsohn "helped keep the company moving, closed important deals, and assembled a very talented team" during his time as interim CEO, according to AllThingsD reporter Kara Swisher.
Levinsohn also sent an email to employees, according to multiple sources, saying, "Leading this company has been one of the best experiences of my career, but it is time for me to look for the next challenge."
Levinsohn's last day at Yahoo will be Tuesday.
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