That was one quick tenure, but it had to give. Scott Thompson, appointed just only in January of this year as Yahoo’s CEO, has left the company after it was revealed by an investor (who was threatening to sue) that his claims of holding a Computer Science degree did not exist.
Thompson, who jumped from PayPal, is Yahoo’s third CEO in three years. He took over from Carol Bartz after she was unceremoniously sacked by the board. He will be replaced by Yahoo’s global media chief Ross Levinsohn.
His tenure, despite being short-lived, will be remembered for Yahoo’s lawsuit against Facebook over ten patents. It had been reported that only Thompson and its legal counsel was working on the lawsuit against the social network. And now, there’s speculation that with Thompson’s ousting that the new CEO Levinsohn will see some sort of settlement between the two companies.
As AllThingsD puts it:
It’s unclear how much Levinsohn, acting as temporary CEO, will be able to change in terms of the progress of the lawsuit. But if he’s looking to dial things back, his first call could be to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who would be instrumental in reaching some sort of detente in the case.
In addition, it has settled the dispute with hedge fund Third Point, who owns 6 percent of the company. It was its CEO Daniel Loeb that revealed Thompson’s false qualifications and demanded he resigned. In the deal, Third Point will get three seats in the board of directors – and to make way for them, five directors will leave immediately. Those affected have already announced previously that they weren’t standing for re-election.
This also means that its Chairman, Roy Bostock, will leave the company. He is being replaced by Fred Amoroso.
Thompson has previously claimed that he held a computer science degree way back into his days as CEO of PayPal. However, while he was over at PayPal, the regulatory filings were saying he held an accounting degree (which is true), but his public bio over on eBay’s website showed something different.
Well, at least the entire debacle is over for Yahoo. However, it will need to impress investors this year and next and show them that it is still a viable company.
The full press release can be found below:
Yahoo! Names Fred Amoroso Chairman and Appoints Ross Levinsohn Interim CEO
SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) today announced that the Board of Directors has named Fred Amoroso as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Ross Levinsohn as interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. The Company also announced that its Board has reached an agreement with Third Point LLC (“Third Point”) to settle its pending proxy contest related to the Company’s 2012 annual meeting of shareholders.
Mr. Amoroso replaces Roy Bostock, who has stepped down from his role as Non-Executive Chairman in order to accelerate the leadership transition for the new Board. Mr. Levinsohn replaces Scott Thompson, former Chief Executive Officer, who has left the Company.
Under the Board’s settlement agreement with Third Point, three Third Point nominees — Daniel S. Loeb, Harry J. Wilson, and Michael J. Wolf — will join the Yahoo! Board, effective May 16, 2012. Mr. Bostock, along with Patti Hart, VJ Joshi, Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson, all of whom previously disclosed their intentions not to stand for re-election, as well as Mr. Thompson, have decided to step down from the Board immediately.
As a part of the settlement agreement, Third Point, which owns an aggregate of 70,545,400 shares, or 5.8% of Yahoo! common stock, has agreed to withdraw its previous Board nominations for consideration at the annual meeting and vote its shares in support of Yahoo!’s nominees. Yahoo!’s slate of director nominees for election or re-election at the 2012 annual meeting of stockholders will now include Fred Amoroso, John Hayes, Peter Liguori, Thomas McInerney, Maynard Webb, Sue James, David Kenny, Brad Smith, Daniel S. Loeb, Harry J. Wilson and Michael J. Wolf.
As interim CEO, Mr. Levinsohn will manage the Company’s day-to-day operations with assistance from Yahoo!’s existing senior leadership team.
“The Board is pleased to announce these changes and the settlement with Third Point, and is confident that they will serve the best interests of our shareholders and further accelerate the substantial advances the Company has made operationally and organizationally since last August. The Board believes in the strength of the Company’s business and assets, and in the opportunities before us, and I am honored to work closely with my fellow directors and Ross to continue to drive Yahoo! forward,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board of Directors.
Mr. Amoroso continued, “On behalf of the entire Board, I would also like to thank Patti, VJ, Arthur, Gary and, in particular, Roy, for their dedicated long-term service and contributions to the Board and Yahoo!.”
Third Point Chief Executive Officer Daniel S. Loeb stated: “Harry, Michael and I are delighted to join the Yahoo! Board and work collaboratively with our fellow directors to foster a culture of leadership dedicated to innovation, excellence in corporate governance, and responsiveness to users, advertisers and partners. We are confident this Board will benefit from shareholder representation, and we are committed to working with new leadership to unlock Yahoo!’s significant potential and value.”
Third Point Director Nominee Jeff Zucker stated: “I have been supportive of Third Point’s efforts since Daniel asked me to join the slate. When I became aware of Yahoo!’s offer of three board seats to Third Point, I approached Daniel and let him know that I would be happy to step aside to quickly facilitate a settlement. I believe that it is in Yahoo!’s best interests to avoid a prolonged proxy fight and have new board members immediately to help move the company forward. While there is clearly much work to be done, this is the right combination of talented executives to do just that.”