Yahoo!’s Scott Thompson steps down following CV gaffe

14 May 2012

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UPDATE – Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson has sensationally resigned from the post after just months in the job for “personal reasons.” The move comes just a week after a controversy emerged that he added a fake computer science degree to his official biography.

In a new development, it is understood Thompson told the board of Yahoo! he has just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It is understood that Yahoo!’s global media head Ross Levinsohn will replace Thompson as interim CEO.

This is the latest in a series of unwelcome dramas for Yahoo! – once considered one of the most innovative companies in the internet business.

Three years ago, when the portal giant should have been squaring up to competition from various social media plays like Twitter and Facebook, it badly botched a massive takeover opportunity presented by Microsoft.

This was followed by massive job cuts and the firing of former CEO Carol Bartz.

Thompson’s brief time at the helm of Yahoo! has been nothing short of controversial. Within weeks of taking the helm, Yahoo! announced plans to cut 2,000 workers – 14pc of its workforce.

It then emerged that Yahoo! was embarking on a patents lawsuit against Facebook. Many saw this as an opportunistic move by Yahoo!’s management just ahead of Facebook’s IPO and it was viewed in poor light by many in the technology industry.

It then emerged in recent weeks that “discrepancies” had emerged in Thompson’s academic background after activist investor Dan Loeb of Third Point, which owns 5.8pc of Yahoo!, raised the issue in a letter to Yahoo!’s board.

It is understood that in changes yet to be confirmed by Yahoo!’s board, five directors will step down from the board immediately and recently added director Fred Amoroso will be named chairman of Yahoo!’s board.

The resignation of Thompson and the reshuffling of Yahoo!’s board may be a stunning victory for Loeb and other activist investors, but for Yahoo! and its employees the company’s troubles are far from over.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com