SAN FRANCISCO – Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson faces calls for his ouster after just four months leading the troubled Internet company because of inaccuracies with his academic credentials.
A major Yahoo shareholder who exposed the misrepresentation Thursday is now leading the charge to oust Thompson for unethical conduct. In a letter Friday, activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb demanded that Yahoo’s board fire Thompson on Monday or face possible legal action.
“Mr. Thompson and the board should make no mistake: this is a big deal,” wrote Loeb, who controls a 5.8 percent stake in Yahoo through his hedge fund, Third Point LLC. “CEO’s have been terminated for less at other companies.”
Yahoo reiterated Friday that “the board is reviewing this matter and, upon completion of its review, will make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders.”
Thompson’s troubles revolve around a misrepresentation of his education at Stonehill College, a small school near Boston from which he graduated in 1979. Since announcing Thompson’s hiring in early January, Yahoo had included two bachelor’s degrees – one for accounting and the other for computer science – on the executive’s biography. The dual degrees not only appeared on Yahoo’s own website but also in a legal document filed April 27 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
After being confronted Thursday by Loeb, Yahoo confirmed that Thompson received only an accounting degree from Stonehill. The company attributed the misrepresentation about the computer science degree to an “inadvertent error.”