Yahoo Ex-CEO's Cancer and Fake Degree Scandal Prompted Departure

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  • PayPal President Scott Thompson in an undated photo
    (Photo: Reuters/PayPal)
    PayPal President Scott Thompson in an undated photo
By Benge Nsenduluka , CP Reporter
May 14, 2012|10:59 am

Yahoo's ex-CEO Scott Thompson is battling thyroid cancer, it has been revealed, and his illness is said to have partially influenced his abrupt departure over the weekend.

Thompson revealed the diagnosis to Yahoo's board of directors and several colleagues last week around the same time that he was investigated for discrepancies found in his résumé, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing "people familiar with the matter."

Despite recent reports that the 54-year-old was fired just four months after taking on the top job, Thompson allegedly chose to step down as Yahoo CEO after it was discovered that he lied about his academic credentials.

On Sunday, Yahoo confirmed that Thompson had "left the company" in a press release but failed to explain his sudden departure.

Thompson claimed to have held a Bachelor's degree in both accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, but the dissident shareholder group Third Point recently discovered that his degree is only in Accounting.

His false qualifications were even referred to in several published company biographies, including the one in the company's latest annual report to the SEC. While Yahoo had initially defended the situation, referring to it as an "inadvertent error," the company quickly determined that Thompson lied and called for his departure.

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Thompson's departure marks Yahoo's fourth CEO to leave the company in five years, which has led to widespread uncertainty about the company's future.

Ross Levinsohn, executive vice president of the Americas for Yahoo, was named interim CEO after Thompson's departure, and despite criticisms, he made assurances that the company can successfully overcome the recent controversy.

"In spite of the very bumpy road we've traveled, we are achieving genuine and meaningful successes in the marketplace every day and heading in the right direction," Levinsohn wrote in a memo that was re-posted to several technology blogs.

 

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