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Yahoo: CEO Scott Thompson's Resume Included 'Inadvertent Error'

Scott Thompson Executive Portrait - P 2012

An activist investor had said that his bio seemed to be "embellished" by citing a degree in computer science instead of business administration.

Yahoo has acknowledged that its new CEO Scott Thompson didn't earn a degree in computer science as stated in a recent corporate bio, citing an "inadvertent error."
 
Activist shareholder Third Point, a hedge fund that has pushed for changes at Yahoo and nominated some of its own alternative candidates for the company's board, had highlighted a discrepancy in the CEO's resume in a recent regulatory filing. The fund owns about 6 percent of Yahoo shares.

"If Mr. Thompson embellished his academic credentials, we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the CEO who has been tasked with leading Yahoo at this critical juncture," the fund said in a statement.

Yahoo's corporate website had listed Thompson as having a bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company by late Thursday had removed the reference to his educational background.

Yahoo clarified in a statement late in the day that Thompson has a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from the college. It didn't explain the error further but said its board would review the issue.

Earlier, Yahoo had said the disclosure about the degree "in no way alters that fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies," according to the Journal.

Paul Lapides, director of the corporate governance center at Kennesaw State University, said that if Thompson was found to have misled Yahoo about his credentials, he should be fired. If it was an error, it is an embarrassment for the company, he said. "If you can't get the CEO's bio correct, what else is incorrect?" he told the Journal.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai