Terry Semel, chairman and chief executive of Yahoo, exercised stock options worth US$230m last year as the share price of the internet portal he has helped to revive gained an impressive 66 per cent over the period.

In all, Mr Semel?s personal stake in the company now tops US$735m, while options he still holds are worth another US$395m, according to the company?s latest annual proxy filing.

Mr Semel?s internet fortune in part reflects his decision to invest some of his own wealth in Yahoo?s stock when he moved to the then-struggling internet company in 2001, as well as his decision to take bonuses in the form of stock rather than cash.

Other senior Yahoo executives also benefitted from Yahoo?s stock market climb to make significant stock option gains last year. Farzard Nazem, the company?s chief technical officer, exercised options over shares worth US$60m, while Susan Decker, chief financial officer, exercised nearly US$28m worth of options.

Yahoo issued another 7.2m stock options to Mr Semel last year, after giving him none the year before. The new options will be worth more than US$108m if Yahoo shares rise by an average of 5 per cent a year until they are exercised, the company says.

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