Yahoo Cans Its CEO, Names an EVP as Interim

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-05-13
 
 
 

Well, the excuse about the executive search firm editing in a mistake on his resume didn't work out so well.

Yahoo's seemingly endless leadership struggles came to another crossroads May 13 when the executive board fired CEO Scott Thompson, 54, and replaced him with Executive Vice President Ross Levinsohn as interim CEO.

Levinsohn (pictured), 48, is EVP of Yahoo's "Americas" businesses, where he oversees the United States, Canada, Latin and South American businesses for the Internet search and services company. He is purported to have earned a bachelor's degree in communications from American University, according to Yahoo.

Yahoo also named a new board chairman, Alfred Amoroso, an independent director who only joined the board in February.

Amoroso replaces Roy Bostock, who has stepped down from his role as nonexecutive chairman in order to accelerate the leadership transition for the new board. 

 Thompson (pictured), a former CEO at PayPal, leaves Yahoo after serving for slightly more than four months as CEO, firing 2,000 employees, and trying to cut costs for the embattled company to break back into the black.

Thompson, who didn't earn the computer science degree in 1979 his resume claims, was called out May 3 by Yahoo stockholder Daniel Loeb for the discrepancy but had ignored requests to resign, as has been demanded by Loeb and other powerful stockholders.

Thompson last made news May 11, reportedly telling colleagues that a nationally known and respected executive placement firm edited an error into his resume that has been there for years and had caused him and his company consternation.

Yahoo, which acknowledged the mistake on Thompson's resume May 3, used the resume in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has called the misinformation an "inadvertent error."

Thompson, as reported by Business Insider, Reuters and other news sources, didn't name names about who was to blame, but the search firm has been identified as Chicago-based Heidrick & Struggles.

According to the reports, Thompson told Yahoo employees that a recruiter interviewed him and put the false information in a document and passed it to eBay when he applied to work there years ago. After eBay hired him, it used the document to write his public bio, he apparently has said.

The board of directors apparently didn't believe Thompson's story and let him go over the weekend.

Yahoo's board also announced a settlement agreement with Loeb's hedge fund, Third Point, so that three Third Point nominees€”Loeb, Harry J. Wilson and Michael J. Wolf€”will join the Yahoo board, effective May 16.

Bostock, along with Patti Hart, V.J. Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson, all of whom previously disclosed their intentions not to stand for re-election, as well as Thompson, have decided to step down from the board immediately, Yahoo said.

Yahoo: Five CEOs Since 2007

Thompson had replaced deposed former Autodesk CEO Carol Bartz, whom Bostock fired in a phone conversation in September 2011, after two years on the job.

Since 2007, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has had five CEOs: former Warner Bros. Chairman and co-CEO Terry Semel (2004-2007), co-founder Jerry Yang (2007-2009), Bartz (2009-2011), Thompson, and now Levinsohn. Semel resigned in 2007, with Yang replacing him.

Chris Preimesberger is Editor for Features and Analysis at eWEEK. Twitter: @editingwhiz

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