NEW YORK – Third Point undertook on Thursday the accusation that the CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson, was lying about his college degree.
In a collection of biographical data published for years, including his biography on the website of Yahoo, Thompson said that “he has a degree in Accounting and Computer Science” awarded by the institution Stonehill College.
But his only academic degree is in Accounting, a fact that Third Point discovered and displayed in a trenchant letter to Yahoo’s board.
After the letter was published, Yahoo released a statement saying that the references to Thompson earning a BS in Computer Science were an “inadvertent error.”
But it is a mistake that Thompson committed repeatedly. References to the non-existent degree in Computer Science from Thompson appear in the biographies of the CEO published on the websites of PayPal – the eBay subsidiary where he previously served as president.
Yahoo, who quickly removed all references to the nonexistent college degree of Thompson in his official biography on in its official website, said the error “no way alters the fact that Mr. Thompson is a highly qualified executive with a successful track record in leading consumer technology corporations.”
Yahoo updated its statement after adding that its board was reviewing the matter and will be “reporting to shareholders in due course” when finished with the investigation.
Dan Loeb, head of Third Point, has a long history in promoting power struggles, and Yahoo is the latest company under his watch. In February, Third Point proposed four new members to the board of Yahoo, including Loeb himself.
Yahoo does not want to participate in the skirmish and subsequent letters that Third Point has sent to the company are full of poignancy.
As an example, a part of a sentence of a letter sent on Thursday: “We learned that during Mr. Thompson’s stint in Stonehill, he barely gave notice on the subject ‘Introduction to Computer Science’. Presumably Mr. Thompson took that course.”