Third Point head Dan Loeb, the majority outstanding shareholder in Yahoo, is demanding the company fire chief executive Scott Thompson today after revealing that Thompson’s claim to a degree in computer science was actually false.
“Mr. Thompson and the Board should make no mistake: this is a big deal. CEO’s have been terminated for less at other companies,” said Loeb in a letter. “Permitting Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart to stay with the Company after apparently violating the Code of Ethics sends a message to all Yahoo! employees that a different set of rules applies at the top.”
Yesterday, Loeb revealed Thompson actually didn’t receive a degree in computer science like his SEC filings and Yahoo (and PayPal) bios suggested. Loeb had contacted the CEOs alma mater, which confirmed that the degree program hadn’t even been created until years after Thompson’s graduation.
Third Point owns six percent of Yahoo’s outstanding shares, which amounts to over $1 billion. The company’s head Dan Loeb recently suggested four directors to Yahoo’s board, one of which was himself. When Yahoo and CEO Thompson hired three others and instead proposed two seats — one seat to one of Loeb’s suggested directors and the other to a “mutually agreeable” candidate (neither of which were Loeb) — Loeb launched a proxy war on Yahoo.
Loeb is also calling on Yahoo to fire director Patti Hart, whose credentials have also come into question. Yahoo announced last night that it will be launching an investigation into the claims.
“While we appreciate the Board’s statement late last night that it would conduct an investigation, unfortunately, for this Board and this Company, it is too little and months too late.”
In the wake of these claims, Yahoo released the following statements yesterday:
“Scott Thompson received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Stonehill college. There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science. This in no way alters that fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies. Under Mr. Thompson’s leadership, Yahoo! Is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value.
We can confirm that Patti Hart holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with specialties in marketing and economics from Illinois State University.”