NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Henrique De Castro was the first big hire of Yahoo! ( YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer, coming over to join her from Google ( GOOG).
He was appointed COO last October with an employment contract that All Things D writer Kara Swisher pegged as being worth $56 million. He came to Yahoo! with his pedigree of Google, McKinsey and DoubleClick. Many Yahoo! investors immediately had visions of display ads dancing in their heads upon hearing the news. However, this first full year on the job for De Castro has yet to show the signs of a turnaround in Yahoo!'s core business for which many were hoping. The number of display ads sold per quarter has dropped eight quarters in a row. In the most recent quarter, the price per ad dropped 12% versus a year ago. De Castro didn't start Yahoo!'s display ad problems, but he was hired to fix them and he's almost a year into the job. So, for the first time since his hiring, there's now real pressure on De Castro to stand and deliver. To date, there's still no head of North American sales under De Castro. There have been rumors that he wants to hire Ned Brody out of AOL ( AOL) but to date, no dice. So, in the meantime, he's in charge of sales. The results have been underwhelming. I was critical of De Castro last March when he decided to become an outside director at Target ( TGT). I couldn't quite fathom how he had the time to fly across country to Minneapolis for board meetings and also participate in the numerous meetings as part of the Nominating and Governance Committee as well as the Corporate Responsibility Committee for Target. With flaccid sales results, surely De Castro needs to be spending every waking hour thinking of and driving Yahoo! solutions rather than concerning himself with what's best for Target and its shareholders. By all accounts, De Castro is whip-smart. He can dazzle you -- in ways only a McKinseyite can -- with his brilliance. He certainly is capable of turning things around at Yahoo! and the pressure he's now under will likely further press him to more quickly demonstrate results to show he's worth every penny of last year's compensation contract.