The newest development in the Yahoo fake credentials debacle has surfaced and it has to do with how the fake credentials made their way into CEO Thompson’s biography. The first thing is that Thompson claims he never actually provided a resume to be considered for the job as CEO at Yahoo. He says a staffing service employee created a document for Yahoo to review and it contained information which mistakingly claimed he had a computer science degree.
An expert in the field of recruiting high-end executives, Keith Giarman of executive search firm DHR International, said it is indeed not common for someone of Thompson’s magnitude to provide a resume.
Thompson’s explanation of how the error appeared as early as 2005 is the same, he interviewed with an executive placement firm which peddled him to Ebay/PayPal. He never claimed he possessed a computer science degree in the interview, but it did appear in the documents from the agency, which he admits, he neglectfully failed to review. He also explains that whoever wrote his Yahoo bio obviously took his credentials from the dossier created by the staffing firm.
As you may remember, we reported earlier this week that Thompson issued a sort of apology to the staff at Yahoo for the disruption the discrepancy has caused. He also pointed out that the Yahoo board has hired a private legal firm to investigate the issue and urged everyone to go on with business as usual. This obviously created some tension for yahoo staff, especially with the pressure on them from activist shareholder Dan Loeb, and his investment firm Third Point, to take action against Thompson.
Now another major shareholder at Yahoo is jumping on the activist bandwagon. Capital Research and Management, which owns more than 10 percent of Yahoo with two different funds, is beginning to take Dan Loeb and Third Point’s perspective that the board is in desperate need of new leadership.
Someone close to the situation told All Things D that, “having a CEO with that hanging over his head is really a problem going forward,” and that, “It’s hard to pretend this is not a problem”. It is unlikely that Capital Research and Management will be as vocal as Loeb about their concerns, but none the less, it has been expressed that they are unhappy with the current state of things.
Anyhow, Yahoo still has the private legal firm diligently investigating the matter and new information is bound to continue surfacing. So far Yahoo has seen the resignation of director Patti Hart, who is responsible for the hiring of Thompson and who passed off false credentials of her own, and we have seen the environment at Yahoo go from positive to worried.
We will keep you posted as new information comes out of this scandal and proxy battle with Third Point. At this moment it appears Thompson is willing to fight for his position at Yahoo and not back down from Third Point. A leader should not back down in the face of competition, false credentials or not.