Yahoo Creates Committee to Investigate the Credentials of Its Own CEO

Yahoo Logo - H 2011

Yahoo Logo - H 2011

A bizarre scandal that alleges the company's chief executive and one of its directors inflated their academic qualifications has the Internet firm playing defense.

Yahoo said Tuesday it has formed a special committee to figure out how the educational credentials of its chief executive and one of its directors were inflated on the company's website and in regulatory filings.

Patti Hart, the director who headed the search committee that eventually endorsed the recent hiring of CEO Scott Thompson, will reportedly not seek re-election as a result of the scandal. Thompson, meanwhile, penned a letter on Monday to employees where he takes "full responsibility" for the distraction and pledges his cooperation with the investigation.

The controversy erupted last week when hedge fund Third Point, a large Yahoo investor that is waging a proxy battle with the company, revealed that Thompson's bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science was actually in business administration. Likewise, Hart claimed a bachelor's degree in marketing and economics that allegedly also should have been listed as being in business administration, according to Third Point.

Last week, Third Point made public a letter from its CEO, Daniel Loeb suggesting that both Thompson and Hart should be gone from Yahoo by Monday, though the day came and went without terminations or resignations.

Yahoo said Tuesday that directors Alfred Amoroso, John Hayes and Thomas McInerney will make up the special committee, which has attained as counsel Terry Bird from the Los Angeles firm Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks and Licenberg.

"The special committee and the entire board appreciate the urgency of the situation and the special committee will therefore conduct the review in an independent, thorough and expeditious manner," Yahoo said Tuesday.