Report: Yahoo CEO to step down amid resume miscue

Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010, file photo, Scott Thompson speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.  The Wall Street Journal's technology blog AllThings D is reporting Sunday, May 13, 2012, that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson will step down. The Journal cited "multiple" unnamed sources close to the situation in reporting that the Internet giant will say Thompson is stepping down for personal reasons. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
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FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010, file photo, Scott Thompson speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. …

NEW YORK (AP) — Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson reportedly will step down Sunday amid controversy over mentions on his resume and in regulatory filings of a computer science degree he never received.

The Wall Street Journal's technology blog AllThings D cited "multiple" unnamed sources close to the situation reporting that the Internet giant will say Thompson is stepping down for personal reasons. The report says Yahoo will appoint another executive as interim CEO.

The company's board of directors also will appoint three new members and select a new chairman on Sunday, the Journal reported.

A Yahoo Inc. spokeswoman did not immediately return a call for comment.

At various times, published summaries of Thompson's academic background have included a computer science degree from Stonehill College. Thompson earned an accounting degree from Stonehill, a Catholic school near Boston, in 1979. He did not earn a computer science degree. Yahoo correctly lists that information in his biography.

Yahoo hired Thompson, the former head of eBay's PayPal, in January to help orchestrate a turnaround. Though, Yahoo is one of the Internet's most-visited websites, the company has struggled to grow in face of competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. The company's difficulties have irked investors. Thompson took the helm as Yahoo's fourth chief executive in less than five years.

Carlos Kirjner, a senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, declined to comment on whether Yahoo's board would be wise to oust Thompson. But he did suggest that Thompson's previous job, as president of the fast-growing PayPal, hadn't prepared him for Yahoo.

"It is very different to be CEO of a growth company, making choices between opportunities, and to be CEO of a company in turnaround mode, whose parts are declining or losing share," Kirjner said.

The Associated Press previously reported that Thompson told his colleagues that he didn't supply the incorrect information. The Journal said Sunday that the Chicago headhunting firm, Heidrick & Struggles, which Thompson blamed for the bogus information, has denied the claim in an internal memo. Officials from Heidrick & Struggles didn't immediately return calls for comment.

The Journal said Yahoo's board will appoint the company's global media head, Ross Levinsohn, as interim CEO.

The three incoming board members, reportedly to be selected Sunday, were nominated by Daniel Loeb, an activist shareholder and manager of the hedge fund Third Point.

Loeb, a vocal critic of Yahoo's management, discovered Thompson's resume discrepancy and has demanded that Thompson be fired.

The flap over Thompson's inaccurate bio earlier claimed its first casualty — Patti Hart, the Yahoo director who oversaw the search that culminated in his hiring. Hart is to step down at Yahoo's still-unscheduled annual meeting later this year.

Thompson's resume' discrepancy might have been more forgivable at a company that was making money for shareholders, said James Post, a management professor at Boston University.

"Yahoo has been embattled for such a long time that there are a lot of people prepared to believe the worst about that company," said Post, who specializes in corporate governance and professional ethics. "When you're angry at the management and the board, when nothing's going right and you're losing money, it's understandable that shareholders would adopt an 'off with their head' attitude."

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