Yahoo Inc.’s board of directors will review a discrepancy in the educational record of its chief executive, Scott Thompson, a spokesman told Reuters, after activist hedge fund Third Point accused Thompson of padding his academic credentials.
Yahoo will also make an appropriate disclosure to shareholders when the review is complete, the spokesman said.
On Thursday, 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, but said Mr. Thompson “embellished his academic credentials” because the CEO’s degree is in accounting only.
“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,” Mr. Loeb wrote in a letter to Yahoo's board on Thursday. “Now more than ever Yahoo investors need a trustworthy CEO.”
In a letter Friday, Mr. Loeb urged Yahoo's board to dump Mr. Thompson. Mr. Loeb indicated he would consider filing a lawsuit if the board doesn't take “swift and decisive” action by noon ET Monday.
Third Point owns 5.81 per cent of Yahoo’s shares and has been fighting to gain seats on the company’s board.
Early on Thursday, a Yahoo spokesman called the discrepancy an “inadvertent error.”
“Scott Thompson received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Stonehill college,” the spokesman said in an emailed statement. “There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science,” he added.
“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,” The statement continued said. “Under Mr. Thompson's leadership, Yahoo is moving forward to grow the company and drive shareholder value.”
With files from The Associated Press