It took just a few hours, if that, for the questioning to begin after Yahoo Inc. fired its COO, Henrique de Castro.

For HR managers, one of the questions that generated the most chatter was Castro's compensation package – and just how much he was able to walk away with.

"It appears that … de Castro has received a severance package in excess of $29 million. If true, it ranks as one of the most expensive severance packages, especially for less than two years of service," said executive compensation expert Bruce R. Ellig, author of the "The Complete Guide to Executive Compensation."

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