Yahoo board to review revelations about CEO's qualifications

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Yahoo board to review revelations about CEO's qualifications

Warwick Ashford

The Yahoo board is to review revelations that new chief executive Scott Thompson does not have a computer science degree as claimed in his official biography.

The erroneous claim was exposed by Third Point, the New York investment firm that owns a 5.8% stake in Yahoo and has been pushing for an overhaul of the company's board.

Upon completion of the review, the board will make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders, it announced late yesterday.

The statement came after increased pressure from Third Point fund manager Daniel Loeb, who was discounted by Thompson when he appointed three new directors in March.

Loeb 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, according to reports.

Earlier in the day, Yahoo confirmed Thompson's credentials had been exaggerated in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but said it was as an "inadvertent error".

The SEC filing said Thompson held a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, but Third Point said the institution offered no computer science qualification.

Loeb said the misinformation was a violation of Yahoo's code of ethics, and called for an independent investigation.

In a letter to the board, Loeb said the false claims undermined Thompson's credibility as a technology expert and reflected poorly on his character. "Now, more than ever, Yahoo investors need a trustworthy CEO," he wrote.

Yahoo responded by saying the revelation in no way altered the fact that Thompson is a "highly qualified executive, with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies".

The Financial Times commented that given that Thompson's qualifications were included in official filings, presumably to give the sense that he had a solid technical background, the SEC may well want to explore the matter further.


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