Resume Trouble for Yahoo's CEO

Did Scott Thompson purposely misrepresent his degree on his resume, or was it, as he says, an "inadvertent error"? In a recent regulatory filing, Thompson's qualifications included a Bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College. However, Stonehill didn't start its computer science program until the early 1980s, and the school's records indicate that Thompson earned a"Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration (Accounting)" on May 20, 1979. This major also is conveyed on Stonehill's website:

Thompson Yahoo Stonehill Annoucement

Daniel S. Loeb, hedge fund manager, wrote a letter to the Yahoo board of directors, calling for Thompson's termination.

Yahoo is at a crucial point now and is relying on Thompson to move the company forward. According to The Wall Street Journal, someone close to the company said, "Maintaining him as CEO of Yahoo at this time is more important than whether he had a computer science degree or not."

In response to the controversy, Yahoo issued this statement: 

"Scott Thompson's degree at Stonehill College was in bachelor science in accounting. There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science. 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. Under Mr. Thompson's leadership, Yahoo! is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value."

 Thompson also sent an email to Yahoo employees, trying to keep everyone "focused":

Yahoo Chief Email

Update: Thompson has resigned. He also told the Board that he has thyroid cancer. 

Discussion Starters:

  • How do you assess the controvery over Thompson's resume: career-ending misrepresentation, innocent mistake, or something else?
  • If you were a member of Yahoo's Board of Directors, how would you handle the situation?