Yahoo CEO Allegedly Lied About His Degree
By Julianne Pepitone, CNN
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The proxy fight between Yahoo and activist shareholder firm Third Point just got extra nasty.
Third Point came out swinging late Thursday with an allegation that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson lied about his college degree.
In a series of published biographical statements stretching back for years — including his bio on Yahoo’s website — Thompson has said that he “holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science” from Stonehill College.
But his degree is actually only in accounting, a fact Third Point discovered and pointed out in a scathing letter to Yahoo’s board of directors.
After the letter was released, Yahoo sent out a statement saying references to Thompson earning a computer science degree were an “inadvertent error.”
It’s an error Thompson made repeatedly. References to Thompson’s nonexistent computer science degree are featured in his bios on sites for PayPal, the eBay subsidiary where he previously served as president.
Stonehill, a small Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts, also confirmed to CNNMoney that Thompson’s only degree is in accounting.
Yahoo, which quickly stripped all references to Thompson’s degree out of his official bio on Yahoo’s website, said the error “in no way alters that fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies.”
Dan Loeb, the CEO of Third Point, has a long history of launching proxy fights — and Yahoo is the latest company in his crosshairs. In February, Third Point filed paperwork proposing four new Yahoo board members, including Loeb himself.
Yahoo doesn’t want to play ball, and Third Point’s subsequent proxy letters have been filled with vitriol.
One choice line from Thursday’s letter: “We learned that during Mr. Thompson’s tenure at Stonehill only one such course was even offered — Intro to Computer Science. Presumably, Mr. Thompson took that course.”