The hedge fund on Friday called Yahoo!'s Board of Directors to fire the CEO Scott Thompson and director Patti Hart over discovery of discrepancies in educational records.
Third Point LLC, CEO, Daniel S. Loeb, pointed out the discrepancy claiming Thompson had "embellished his academic credentials" in order to land the role. "A rudimentary Google search reveals a Stonehill College alumni announcement stating that Thompson's degree is in accounting only. That announcement is consistent with other documents (including filings with the SEC) that reflect Thompson received a degree in accounting, but not computer science," Loeb wrote in the letter to the Yahoo's board.
"As we pondered how Mr. Thompson's academic credentials could seemingly be overlooked, we discovered another apparent discrepancy regarding the academic background of Ms. Hart, the Chair of the Search Committee and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Specifically, Ms. Hart, we are told in various corporate filings, holds a "Bachelor's degree in marketing and economics" from Illinois State University. However, we understand that Ms. Hart's degree is in Business Administration. She received a degree in neither Marketing nor Economics," Loeb adds.
Third Point believes Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart owe Yahoo!, its Board of Directors and its shareholders an explanation. We also call upon the Board to immediately commission an independent investigation to determine whether these individuals (i) made misrepresentations to the Yahoo! Board and the investing public or (ii) have violated the Company's Code of Ethics.
"If Thompson embellished his academic credentials we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the [chief executive] who has been tasked with leading Yahoo at this critical juncture."
"If there is a good explanation for the apparent discrepancies regarding the academic records of Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart, we are confident that it will be provided promptly. However, in the event that there is no good explanation, we expect the Board to take immediate action. Yahoo! shareholders should not have to wait until the (not yet scheduled) Annual Meeting for our nominees to begin the hard work of truly changing the Yahoo! Board" Loeb wrote in the letter.
Yahoo originally called the errors "inadvertant" and said it didn't diminish Thompson's record as a tech CEO at eBay Inc.'s PayPal unit.
Loeb called that response "insulting to shareholders."
Yahoo has dismissed Loeb's concerns and call for Thompson to be fired by Monday.