“This was an opportunity he felt he had to take“, were the word John Donahoe used in January this year when announcing to PayPal staff that Scott Thompson was leaving to become CEO of Yahoo! Four months later it doesn’t appear that the grass was greener as Yahoo! announced today that Scott Thompson has “left the company“.
The hiatus was caused when Yahoo! investor Third Point, who own 6% of Yahoo!, raised the issue of Scott Thompson’s credentials. Third Point CEO Dan Loeb and two of his nominees will join Yahoo!’s board so they appear to have got what they wanted from the mess.
It’s not just at Yahoo! that Thompson’s CV claimed the disputed Computer Science qualification. Although during his time at eBay and PayPal it doesn’t appear to have been an issue – he was recorded as having “a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Computer Science from Stonehill College”. Not quite the degree in “business administration with a major in accounting” that he actually held. It appears that the description of his qualifications was carried across to Yahoo! and no one ever verified his actual qualifications at either company.
I do feel sorry for Scott, I’ve never been asked for my ‘O’ Level or ‘A’ Level certificates which are happily gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere. If you asked my what my qualifications are I’d probably get the details wrong but it really doesn’t matter what education I had a over a quarter of a century ago – it’s my current experience that counts.
Up until Friday Scott Thompson was still listed as President of PayPal on the eBay Singapore site and on eBay he also apparently had a Computer Science qualification. This link has now been redirected to the up to date eBay Inc leadership page. Mind you it’s not unusual for eBay pages to be out of date but unless they cause embarrassment they’re never changed. According to eBay Australia Meg Whitman is still CEO of eBay even though she resigned in November 2007.
Updated to add: News has surfaced that Scott Thompson told the Yahoo!’s board that he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer before announcing his resignation. Our thoughts are with him and his family.