Thompson Takes 'Full Responsibility' For Botched Bio
Without actually perjuring himself, Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has officially apologized for the furor created by his factually loose resume.
Following up on a less remorseful statement released Friday, Thompson put out a new memo this week, which drew a clear connection between his bio’s misstated academic credentials and damage done to the Yahoo brand.
“As I told you on Friday, the board is reviewing the issue and I will provide whatever they need from me,” Thompson explained. “In the meantime, I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you.”
As Thompson admitted, the revelation of his padded resume couldn’t have come at a worse time for the embattled Web giant.
“We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect,” according to Thompson. “For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you.”
Stirring the controversy is activist hedge fund Third Point -- which, as one of Yahoo’s largest shareholders, is seeking to gain four seats on the company’s board. Since last week, Third Point has been calling for Thompson's ouster after bringing his resume’s errors to light.
Apologies aside, neither Thompson -- or anyone else at Yahoo -- has yet to explain why his bio boasted a computer science degree from Stonehill College since at least 2004 when he worked at eBay. An initial statement from Yahoo said including the degree in Thompson’s bio was an “inadvertent error.”
More problematic for Yahoo is the fact that Thompson’s fictitious degree was included in the company’s regulatory filings.
Yahoo’s board, headed by independent director Fred Amoroso, is currently conducting an investigation into the matter.
“I know the board plans to conduct the review thoroughly and independently, and I respect that process,” Thompson explained in his most recent memo. "I am hopeful that this matter will be concluded promptly.”
After taking over Yahoo in January, Thompson’s first orders of business were to lay off some 2,000 employees -- in an effort to reduce costs by $375 million annually -- and undertake a major internal reorganization.
While those changes did not impact its first-quarter results, Yahoo was still able to post revenue and earnings that beat Wall Street estimates. The company reported quarterly net revenue of $1.08 billion, up from $1.06 billion a year ago.
Yahoo’s first quarterly revenue gain since the third quarter of 2008 was fueled in part by higher-than-expected search revenue, which helped offset a 4% drop in display advertising sales.
All told, there have been six rounds of job cuts at Yahoo in the last four years -- including about 1,500 under Thompson’s immediate predecessor, Carol Bartz.
Following the layoffs, Yahoo announced a broad restructuring under which the company would be organized into three main divisions -- consumer, geographic regions, and technology -- supported by the company’s established corporate teams.