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Google Paid This Man $100 Million: Here’s His Story

Google Paid This Man $100 Million: Here’s His Story

On April 14, 2011, Fortune’s Jessi Hempel blasted Twitter for failing to launch exciting new products, generate meaningful revenues, or hang on to executive talent.

None of this was news to Twitter’s board members or CEO Dick Costolo, of course.

They’d spent the months prior trying to turn Twitter into “a real company” after years of neglectful management.

The first step: hire a chief product officer. The board wanted someone who could fix the company’s internal turmoil, revamp its product lineup, and get advertisers spending billions of dollars on the platform.

David Rosenblatt, the former CEO of DoubleClick and Google executive who joined Twitter’s board in December 2010, believed he had the perfect candidate.

Rosenblatt reached out to Neal Mohan — a Google executive who had been Rosenblatt’s top lieutenant at DoubleClick.

Twitter made an offer, and it seemed like Mohan would accept.

But then he said no.

Why?

Because Google wrote a massive check to keep him.

Rosenblatt told a friend that Google made him an offer much richer than the one the Knicks had just given star forward Carmelo Anthony.

That February, the Knicks made headlines everywhere for agreeing to pay Anthony $65 million over three years.

TechCrunch later reported that Google paid Mohan more than $100 million in stock.

In the two years since Mohan signed the deal, Google’s stock price has increased about 35 percent, making Mohan’s deal worth as much as $150 million.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve spoken to his colleagues, clients, and competitors to learn more about Mohan. Some of them asked to remain anonymous out of deference to Mohan’s quiet, behind-the-scenes style. Mohan himself declined to comment.

They say Mohan is the visionary who predicted how brand advertising would fund the Internet, turned this vision into a plan, and then executed it.

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Google Paid This Man $100 Million: Here’s His Story

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