Yahoo Investor Third Point Demands Records Over CEO Hiring

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson
Yahoo Inc. Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson, seen here in Feb. 2011 as PayPal Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. Photographer: Kim White/Bloomberg

Yahoo! Inc. investor Third Point LLC, the fund seeking board representation and management changes at the Web portal, has asked to inspect records related to the hiring of Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson.

Third Point in a letter today urged the board to consider firing Thompson over misrepresented academic credentials and challenged the company to document its contention that the error was inadvertent. Third Point also requested records related to the appointment of director Patti Hart and the selection of five new board members.

“Yahoo shareholders and employees will be best served if the board accepts responsibility quickly for this latest debacle,” Third Point said in the letter. “If the directors are truly interested in ‘working in a constructive manner with Third Point,’ they should provide answers promptly.”

Third Point, one of Yahoo’s largest investors with a 5.8 percent stake, said on May 3 that Thompson didn’t have the computer science degree from Stonehill College cited on his resume -- the school didn’t offer such a degree until four years after he graduated. The dispute comes as Yahoo grapples with rising competition from rivals such as Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. Thompson, who joined as CEO in January, has cut 2,000 jobs and overhauled management to spur a turnaround.

Dana Lengkeek, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, didn’t immediately respond to a call seeking comment today.

‘Inadvertent Error’

Yahoo’s board plans to review the matter, and will later “make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders,” the company said last week. Yahoo, in an initial public statement on the issue, had called the discrepancy an “inadvertent error” and said it “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, based in Sunnyvale, California, rose 2.2 percent to $15.49 at 2 p.m. New York time. The shares had fallen 6.1 percent this year before today.

“The failure to detect the easily-discoverable inaccuracies in Mr. Thompson’s resume creates significant doubt as to the thoroughness of the entire board nomination process,” according to Third Point’s letter today, which was signed by Josh Targoff, chief operating officer and general counsel.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE