Yahoo director out after CEO resume scandal
Director in charge of CEO search will not seek re-election
Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson may still have a job (for now) after padding his resume, but the woman responsible for hiring him is officially out.
Yahoo director Patti Hart, who was in charge of the company's CEO search, will not seek re-election at the next shareholder meeting. An exact date for the meeting has not been set, but last year's event was held in June.
Yahoo said Tuesday that it will not replace Hart on its board, bringing the total number of directors down to nine. The company's short statement about Hart's departure simply thanked her for her service and wished her well. Tech blog AllThingsD reported Hart's exit earlier in the day.
Hart, who joined Yahoo's board in 2010, is the CEO of International Game Technology. Statements from both Yahoo and IGT said that IGT's board asked her not to seek re-election at Yahoo.
"We believe her service as a member of Yahoo's board of directors could become a distraction from her responsibilities to IGT," IGT chairman Philip Satre said.
Hart's is the first head to roll in the scandal that erupted late last week, when activist shareholder group Third Point first alleged that Thompson lied about his college degree. Thompson's published bios have claimed that he holds a Bachelor's degree in both accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, but his degree in in accounting only.
Third Point also took a shot at Hart, whose published bios said she held a bachelor's degree in marketing and economics. Yahoo later clarified that Hart received a bachelor's degree in business administration, with specialties in marketing and economics, from Illinois State University.
IGT said its board thoroughly reviewed Hart's academic credentials and "found no material inconsistencies."
The criticism aimed at Thompson wasn't so easily smoothed over. Yahoo admitted last week that it had incorrectly stated Thompson's academic background, claiming the mistake was an "inadvertent error." The company's board said Tuesday that it has hired an outside counsel to conduct a review of the false statement.
It appointed the company's three independent directors to oversee the investigation. All three directors were named to Yahoo's board under Thompson's watch, after a board shakeup that wiped out most of Yahoo's previous directors. Hart's exit extends the tumultuous year for Yahoo's board.
False statements about Thompson's degree stretch beyond his time at Yahoo, which began in January. References to a "computer science" degree also appeared in his online biographical information on PayPal's website when Thompson was president of the eBay subsidiary.
Thompson's degree information is listed accurately in eBay's regulatory filings and in the bio featured in filings for F5, where he serves as a director. In both cases, the companies state: "Mr. Thompson holds a B.S. in Accounting from Stonehill College," with no reference to a computer science degree.
But the false statement about his degree appeared in Yahoo's latest annual report filed to the SEC: "Mr. Thompson holds a Bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College."
Those errant three words could mean big trouble for Thompson and Yahoo. CEOs are required to personally certify that their company's SEC filings are accurate.
In the same report containing his degree "error," Scott Thompson's signature appears right below this line: "This report does not contain any untrue statement of a material fact."
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