Yahoo Fires CEO Over CV Claims


Yahoo chief executive Scott Thompson leaves the company after slightly more than four months, after firing 2,000 employees and instituting other cost-cutting measures

Yahoo’s seemingly endless leadership struggles came to another crossroads on 13 May when the executive board fired chief executive Scott Thompson, 54, and replaced him with Executive Vice President Ross Levinsohn as interim chief executive.

Levinsohn (pictured), 48, is EVP of Yahoo’s “Americas” businesses, where he oversees the United States, Canada, Latin and South American businesses for the Internet search and services company. He is purported to have earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from American University, according to Yahoo.

New board chairman

Yahoo also named a new board chairman, Alfred Amoroso, an independent director who only joined the board in February.

Amoroso replaces Roy Bostock, who has stepped down from his role as non-executive chairman in order to accelerate the leadership transition for the new board.

Thompson, a former chief executive at PayPal, leaves Yahoo after serving for slightly more than four months as chief executive, firing 2,000 employees, and trying to cut costs for the embattled company to break back into the black.

Thompson, who didn’t earn the 1979 computer science degree claimed on his CV, was called out 3 May by Yahoo stockholder Daniel Loeb for the discrepancy but had ignored requests to resign, as has been demanded by Loeb andother powerful stockholders.

Thompson last made news on 11 May, reportedly telling colleagues that a nationally known and respected executive placement firm edited an error into his CV that has been there for years and had caused him and his company consternation.

Yahoo, which acknowledged the mistake on Thompson’s CV on 3 May, used the CV in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has called the misinformation an “inadvertent error”.

False information

Thompson, as reported by Business Insider, Reuters and other news sources, didn’t name names about who was to blame, but the search firm has been identified as Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles.

According to the reports, Thompson told Yahoo employees that a recruiter interviewed him and put the false information in a document and passed it to eBay when he applied to work there years ago. After eBay hired him, it used the document to write his public bio, he apparently has said.

The board of directors apparently didn’t believe Thompson’s story and fired him over the weekend.

Yahoo’s board also announced a settlement agreement with Loeb’s hedge fund, Third Point, so that three Third Point nominees – Loeb, Harry J. Wilson, and Michael J. Wolf – will join the Yahoo board effective 16 May.

Bostock, along with Patti Hart, V.J. Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson, all of whom previously disclosed their intentions not to stand for re-election, as well as Thompson, have decided to step down from the board immediately, Yahoo said.

Thompson had replaced deposed former Autodesk chief executive Carol Bartz, whom Bostock fired in a phone conversation in September 2011 after two years on the job.

Since 2007, the company has had five chief executives: former Warner Bros. Chairman and co-chief executive Terry Semel (2004-2007), co-founder Jerry Yang (2007-2009), Bartz (2009-2011), Thompson, and now Levinsohn. Semel resigned in 2007, with Yang replacing him.

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