Friday, May 04, 2012

Shareholder demands ouster of Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson by Monday, noon - or else

What's the worst thing you can do on your resume? Lie, of course. The question now is, what happened to the "resume" of Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson? Yahoo! confirmed on Friday that the charges levied at Thompson by one of its biggest shareholder, hedge fund Third Point were true: Thompson does not have a college degree in computer science as stated both on Yahoo's website and in a recent regulatory filing.

Yahoo! confirmed that Thompson has a degree in accounting and not in computer science. The beleaguered Internet search firm called it an "inadvertent error."

This is the latest salvo between Third Point and Yahoo!. Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb wants a seat on Yahoo!'s board; the hedge fund has nominated four individuals, but Yahoo on Wednesday offered Third Point only two seats, one of which categorically cannot be Loeb because, as Yahoo! said, he "does not bring the relevant skill set and experience to the board."

Third Point has now demanded that Yahoo fire Thompson by noon EDT on Monday. They also demanded that Yahoo! publicly reveal the vetting process used during Thompson's CEO candidacy. In addition to Thompson's ouster, Third Point wants Yahoo! to terminate Patti Hart, the Yahoo director who led the search that brought in Mr. Thompson.

Naturally, a further demand was that Yahoo! place the aforementioned Third Point nominees on the Board.  If its demands are not met, Third Point said it will consider that grounds for further action.

Yahoo! says this was an "inadvertent error," but AllThingsD discovered that there was a prior "inadvertent error" with regard to Thompson's academic record.

In a 2009 interview with the TechNation radio show, host Moira Gunn asked him a direct question about his college degrees, to which Thompson may - or may not - have inadvertently made a similar mistake. As noted in the report, Gunn said Thompson had a degree in accounting and computer science. He failed to correct her, which may have been inadvertent. It may also simply have been that he didn't hear her question properly.

All that said, Thompson has had a successful career as a tech executive. How he fares next week remains to be seen.

You can listen to the TechNation interview here, with the pertinent part starting at 26:33.

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