If you thought that Yahoo’s public image couldn’t get any poorer, a new scandal has arrived to make you think again. It has been revealed that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, has lied on his resume, claiming falsely he received a computer science degree from Stonehill College.
But even though things are looking pretty gloomy and probably even disgraceful for Yahoo right now, the company should take advantage the abyss it fell into (ironically is it may sound) and climb back to find its way again. But first let’s go over the scandal’s details.
The person who exposed this scandal wasn’t a journalist and neither a blogger, but just a concerned (and very active) Yahoo shareholder, Dan Loeb. Loeb is the founder of Third Point LLC which owns about 5.8 percent of Yahoo (worth about $1.1 billion).
Loeb wrote a letter (you can read it here) to Yahoo’s board of directors where he describes how he found out that Scott Thompson actually didn’t received any computer science degree as it is stated on his official Yahoo bio and also on the company’s SEC filling.
Loeb also wrote that not only that Stonehill College confirmed that Thompson never graduated with a computer science degree but they also didn’t even began awarding them until 1983, which is four years AFTER Thompson allegedly received his degree. Awkward…
Yahoo released a statement to AllThingsD, calling it “inadvertent error”, which I think simply means “we don’t really know how to digest it yet”. And indeed, few hours later that company released a second statement saying that the board will review this issue furthermore. They’ve also removed Thompson’s bogus degree from his Yahoo bio.
The Next Step
What will happened next? After such a big ethical problem and after being blasted all over, Yahoo board would probably give Thompson an appropriate time to resign by himself and if it won’t happened, well, they’ll just have to do the dirty work themselves.
Just to be clear, the issue isn’t related to the specific degree Thompson has or not. In the tech industry today, it doesn’t really important if you have computer science degree, accountant degree or not any degree at all (just ask this guy). It is about values, or in this case, the lack of values.
Can Yahoo afford simply let this “error” slide? Is it Okay “to revamp” the actual facts just because you are very ambitious and possibly talented? How it will reflect on the morals and values the company holds? What kind of an example it will set for its employees and job candidates? Are those the ethical standards a large web company stands behind?
Yahoo Needs To Find Its Way Again
I will be very disappointed and even sad if Yahoo board wouldn’t make the right choice here.
In fact, as a half-full glass type of guy I am, I think it can be a great opportunity for Yahoo to shake things up and return into the right path of the company we once fell in love with. Thompson is only one year on the job but it certainly doesn’t look like the ship is heading into the right direction.
Instead of innovation, all we received from Yahoo on the passing year is just a bogus suit over nothing. When thinking about it, we can see a pattern here of NOT playing by the right values and morals. This isn’t something we should expect from a big web company like Yahoo (yes, still!) and this is surely isn’t something they should expect from themselves.
For Yahoo, it’s time for a serious self-gaze and hopefully a new way.
Update: Scott Thompson officially left Yahoo after the scandal. Discover all details on this post.