Activist hedge fund Third Point accused Yahoo Inc’s new chief executive, Scott Thompson, of padding his educational record on on Thursday, according to The Huffington Post.
Third Point’s founder and chief executive, Dan Loeb, wrote in a letter to Yahoo’s board that Thompson claims to hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston, that is not correct.
“Stonehill College informed us that it did not begin awarding computer science degrees until 1983 – four years after Mr. Thompson graduated,” Loeb said in the letter.
Third Point owns 5.81 percent of Yahoo’s shares and has been fighting to gain seats on the company’s board, tells Reuters.
“If Mr. Thompson embellished his academic credentials, we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the CEO who has been tasked with leading Yahoo! at this critical juncture,” Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point said in a statement. “Now more than ever, Yahoo! investors need a trustworthy CEO.”
Yahoo confirmed Thompson’s credentials had been exaggerated in the recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company California, brushed off the distortion as an “inadvertent error.”
“Scott Thompson received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Stonehill college,” the Yahoo spokesman said in an emailed statement. “There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science.”
Yahoo expressed its confidence in its CEO, saying he is a “highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies.”
Yahoo hired Thompson, PayPal’s former president, as chief executive in January, five months after Carol Bartz was fired.
NY Post writes that at eBay, official papers show Thompson received an accounting degree from Stonehill, in Massachusetts, but make no mention of a computer science background. Later, at PayPal, references to an education in computers began popping up.
“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,” Yahoo said. “Under Mr. Thompson’s leadership, Yahoo is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value.”
In his letter Loeb also accused board member Patti Hart, who chaired the CEO search committee, of embellishing her educational record.
Loeb noted in the letter that Yahoo’s recent SEC filing says Hart holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics from Illinois State University.
In response, the company clarified that Hart received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with specialties in marketing and economics.
“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,” Yahoo spokesman said.
Late March tensions between Loeb and Thompson escalated, when Yahoo appointed three new directors to its board. By this move Yahoo snubbed Loeb, who had been lobbying for a board seat along with three allies who he believes have the skills necessary to help Yahoo rebound from its long-running struggles.
Then Thompson made it clear that he and the Yahoo committee overseeing the search for new directors had concluded Loeb wasn’t the best candidate.