Terry Semel’s net worth, biography, fact, career, awards and life story

What is Terry Semel’s net worth and salary?

Terry Semel is an American business leader who has a net worth of $300 million. Terry Semel was chairman and CEO of the web services provider Yahoo! from 2001 to 2007. Previously, he held various leadership positions at Warner Bros. for 24 years, including as co-chairman and co-CEO of Robert A. Daly. In addition to his other business activities, Semel offered to buy Google, but was rejected and also underwent unsuccessful negotiations to buy Facebook.

Yahoo! Salary

Semel spent 24 years at Warner Bros. where he served as chairman and co-chief executive officer. As CEO, Semel’s salary spiked $1 million annually, but his total compensation often exceeded that amount due to bonuses and stock options. In 2001 his compensation reached total $32.5 million.

To entice him to leave Warner Bros, Yahoo! offered Semel $110 million in stock options as an initial compensation plan. He was then given options to add additional Yahoo! stock. With this subsidy, Semel earned $450 million between 2003 and 2006. However, his stock purchasing strategy caused the value of Yahoo!

Early life and education

Terry Semel was born on February 24, 1943 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City to Jewish parents Mildred and Ben. His mother was an executive at a bus company, while his father designed women’s jackets. He is the middle child between two sisters. Semel grew up in the Bay Terrace neighborhood of Queens. For his higher education, he attended Long Island University Brooklyn where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

Business career

Semel first worked at Warner Bros. as an intern in 1965. Later, from 1970 to 1972, he was the domestic sales manager for Cinema Center Films, the theatrical film production company of CBS. After CBS closed the company, Semel moved to Disney, where he was in charge of theatrical distribution. He returned to Warner Bros. in 1975. as president of distribution. At the end of the decade, Semel became executive vice president of studio operations. After President Frank Wells announced in 1981 that he would take a less active role at Warner Bros., Semel became the company’s new president and COO. In 1994, he assumed the role of co-chairman and co-CEO, along with Robert A. Daly. The following year, the men also became co-chairmen and co-CEOs of Warner Music Group. Semel and Daly both resigned from Warner Bros. in the summer of 1999.

In 2001, Semel was given a bonus stock options worth more than $110 million to join the Web service provider Yahoo! He became chairman and CEO of the company, positions he held until mid-2007. Prior to his departure, Semel’s annual salary was reduced to one dollar. After his resignation, he handed over the CEO reins to Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang, while Susan Decker became the new president. During his leadership at Yahoo! Semel was involved in the controversial decision to allow the company to transfer previously confidential information to the Chinese government. He also offered to buy Google, like Yahoo! was the largest licensor of the company’s search technology. However, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were reluctant to sell. Although Semel agreed to their initial asking price of $1 billion, the two increased the amount to $3 billion and objected. Semel was also involved in failed negotiations to acquire Facebook from Mark Zuckerberg.

Other activities

In addition to his other activities, Semel is co-chairman of the board of directors of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Awards and prizes

Semel has earned a number of significant awards for his business career. In 1995 he received the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. Ten years later, Semel earned the UCLA Medal, the university’s highest honor. He is also the namesake of UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Elsewhere, Semel received the Legend in Leadership Award from the Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management.

Private life

In 1966, Semel married Maryann Soloway. The couple had a son named Eric before divorcing in 1974. Semel married Jane Bovingdon in 1977; they have three daughters named Courtenay, Lily and Kate. Semel has Alzheimer’s disease and moved to a nursing home in 2016 to receive care.


Terry and Jane own and have previously owned some incredible properties, primarily in Southern California. In 1994, they paid $3.15 million for a house in Malibu, on the coveted Carbon Beach. After initially asking $50 million for this property, they sold it to Larry Ellison in 2012 for $36 million. Ellison now owns at least a dozen homes along the PCH in Malibu. Terry and Jane’s old home in Bel-Air is probably worth $20-30 million. They previously owned a $12 million home in Beverly Hills.

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