Third Point Loeb Wants Yahoo To Appoint CFO As Interim Chief Executive

Posted on May 10 2012 - 6:54am by Editorial Staff

As expected it happened, Yahoo’s investor Third Point’s Loeb hit back on the company by writing a letter to the board asking it to fire CEO Scott Thompson over errors related to the college education listed on his resume, and replace him with chief financial officer Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn as an interim chief executive.

The controversy started last week when Third Point Loeb (Yahoo investor) stated that Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson owes Accounting degree not the Computer Science degree. Loeb even quickly lobbed in another letter, making an explicit legal threat to get the resume information. Over which Thompson said sorry to his staff.

The Wall Street Journal reports that one of Yahoo’s directors in charge of hiring Thompson is stepping down from the company board after the huge blowup over the accuracy of the CEO’s academic record. Yahoo announced that Patti Hart has decided not to seek re-election to the Yahoo board at the upcoming 2012 annual meeting of Yahoo shareholders.

The matter getting quite high since from the time it hits the market as the question arise from every point why such mistake happened as in any case the issue is not so small – error on the company’s CEO resume is not called to be as “small error”.

Here is Daniel Loeb letter:

Board of Directors

Yahoo! Inc.

701 First Avenue

Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Board of Directors:

Six days have passed since Yahoo! acknowledged the fabrications in Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson and Director Patti Hart’s resumes.  Since then, the following has occurred: (i) shareholders have been told that Mr. Thompson’s errors were “inadvertent”, (ii) Mr. Thompson made a classic “I’m sorry you feel that way” non-apology without actually accepting responsibility, (iii) Ms. Hart announced she will not seek re-election to the Board presumably due to her leadership of the botched CEO hiring process but intends to serve out her term, and (iv) the Board has formed a special committee to conduct a “thorough review” into Mr. Thompson’s academic credentials.

It appears very clear to us – and to many corporate governance experts, Yahoo! employees, and fellow Yahoo! shareholders – that Mr. Thompson’s fantasy degree was in no way an “inadvertent error”.  The evidence shows he had been using false credentials for years.  Mr. Thompson’s “apology” was clearly insufficient and it seems that the only thing he actually regrets is that he has been caught in a lie and publicly exposed.  Without any explanation or accountability, Yahoo! has been left to flounder under a discredited leader for an undefined period.  So, after six days, we must ask – what is this Board waiting for? 

It seems farcical to us that the Board will most likely spend more time deliberating over whether Mr. Thompson should be fired than it did properly vetting whether he should have been hired.  The necessary investigation into whether certain senior executives and Board Members knew of Mr. Thompson’s deceptions before hiring him should not delay decisive action over his ethical breaches.

Third Point has over $1 billion invested in Yahoo! and we take no joy in witnessing this carnage.  This Board’s unchecked value destruction must stop once and for all.  Therefore, we once again call upon the Board to immediately (i) place Third Point’s entire slate on the Board replacing Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart, (ii) appoint an interim CEO—we would suggest CFO Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn (assuming neither had any knowledge of Mr. Thompson’s fabrications) and (iii) allow Third Point nominee Michael Wolf to Chair the Search Committee for a new permanent CEO (Mr. Wolf will waive the $15,000 fee that Ms. Hart received for her work as Head of the Search Committee last year, which we expect she will promptly disgorge).

This is the only way for Yahoo! to move past this embarrassing episode.


Daniel S. Loeb

Chief Executive Officer

Third Point LLC

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