Yahoo CEO to Leave as Company Strikes Deal With Loeb
Yahoo's embattled chief executive, Scott Thompson, will leave his post after a controversy over his embellished academic credentials embroiled the Web company.
He will be replaced on an interim basis by Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s global head of media, the company said in a statement on Sunday.
Yahoo also struck a deal with Third Point’s Daniel S. Loeb to end the hedge fund manager’s proxy fight. Under the settlement, the activist hedge fund manager and two of his director nominees, Michael J. Wolf and Harry Wilson, will be seated on the board. A fourth candidate, former NBC head Jeff Zucker, will withdraw his nomination.
Fred Amoroso, one of Yahoo’s new directors and the leader of an internal inquiry into Mr. Thompson’s credentials, will take over as chairman effective immediately.
“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,” Mr. Amoroso said in a statement.
Mr. Loeb added that he and his chosen nominees, the advertising executive Michael J. Wolf and the turnaround specialist Harry Wilson, are “delighted to join the Yahoo board and work collaboratively with our fellow directors.”
The departure of Mr. Thompson after four months on the job is a stunning blow to Yahoo, a Web pioneer that has struggled to turn itself around after years of faltering performance. Mr. Thompson, a former eBay executive, was meant to help lead the revitalization effort.
But Third Point shattered his credibility earlier this month when the hedge fund pointed out that Mr. Thompson’s biography stated that he held both accounting and computer science degrees from Stonehill College. Yahoo later conceded that he had earned only the former, and that the erroneous information had been included in regulatory filings.
Turmoil quickly ensued. Patti S. Hart, the director who led the C.E.O. search that culminated with Mr. Thompson’s hiring, announced that she would not seek re-election. Ms. Hart was also revealed to have misstated her academic credentials, having earned a degree in business administration instead of marketing and economics.
Third Point quickly pounced, calling for an investigation into Mr. Thompson’s hiring and demanding his ouster. Last week, Yahoo disclosed that it had formed a special board committee to look into how Mr. Thompson’s erroneous information made it through the vetting process and was included in the company’s regulatory filings.
News of Mr. Thompson’s departure was reported earlier by All Things D.