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New Yahoo boss under fire over degree 'mistake' on his resumé


By Noel Young | Correspondent

May 4, 2012 | 4 min read

Yahoo! is "reviewing" the educational record of its new CEO Scott Thompson after its biggest outside investor said he had wrongly claimed a college degree.

Scott Thompson: Embarrassing

He listed a bachelor's degree in computer science from Stonehill College in Massachusetts - which didn't offer the degree until four years after he graduated.

The error was pointed out in a letter from Daniel Loeb, CEO of the hedge fund Third Point LLC, who wants on the Yahoo! board, said AdAge.

Thompson, previously president of PayPal, in fact has an accounting degree from the college.

After completing its review , Yahoo's board said it would "make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders."

The company said the discrepancy was an "inadvertent error" that in no way altered that fact "that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies."

Still, it's embarrassing.

Third Point owns 5.8% of Yahoo and wants shareholder votes on its slate of four directors, including Loeb. It has called Yahoo,one of technology's "most mismanaged companies."

A spokesman for Stonehill said Thompson received a bachelor of science in degree in business administration, with a major in accounting on May 20, 1979. He declined to comment further.

Thompson's bio from PayPal owned by E-bay also said he had a degree in computer science but PayPal said that in recent EBay filings, Thompson's degree was listed correctly.

Yahoo said in its first public statement, "Under Mr. Thompson's leadership, Yahoo is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value."

Loeb wasn't finished yet, however. He said Patti Hart, a Yahoo board member who chairs the search committee, inflated her degree . She is listed as having a "bachelor's degree in marketing and economics" from Illinois State University.

"However, we understand that Ms. Hart's degree is in business administration. She received a degree in neither marketing nor economics," said Loeb.

Yahoo insisted, "Patti Hart holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with specialties in marketing and economics from Illinois State University."

The university corroborated the business administration degree, saying Hart graduated in 1978 with a concentration in economics and marketing.

Errors in resumes have led to trouble for others in the past, AdWeek points out:

* In 2009, Intrepid Potash President Patrick Avery quit after confirming he hadn't received degrees from two universities listed on a company prospectus.

* RadioShack CEO David Edmondson resigned in 2006 after acknowledging he hadn't earned degrees in theology and psychology listed on his resume.

* Kenneth Lonchar, CFO at Veritas Software quit in 2002 after lying about a master's degree in business administration from Stanford.

Others kept their jobs:

* Microsemi Corp. CEO James Peterson, censured and fined in 2009 after fabricating degrees from Brigham Young University,stayed as CEO.

* Ronald Zarrella, CEO of Bausch & Lomb , listed an MBA from New York University on his resume, but had only taken classes at its business school. He too kept his job.

Thompson was criticised by Third Point last month for embarking on of job cuts before articulating a more complete strategy.

Loeb said, "If misrepresentations were made, they would confirm yet again that Yahoo is in dire need of a complete corporate governance overhaul,"


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