Yahoo Replacement CEO to Step Down Due to Thompson Scandal

May 09, 2012
By: Rory Lidstone

Due to the fake credential scandal at Yahoo, in which former CEO Scott Thompson was discovered to have lied about some of his academic background, the company’s new Chief Executive Patti Hart has decided to step down.

The former chairman of Yahoo’s board of directors’ CEO search committee said she won’t stand for re-election this year in order to focus on her role as chief executive of International Game Technology (News - Alert), a casino game maker. According to an inside source, many of the Yahoo board members have been troubled that Thompson’s academic record was misstated for so long and on so many website, including Yahoo’s. So far, though, there is no evidence to suggest that Hart knew about the error until it was made public last week.

The Yahoo board is currently conducting a thorough investigation into the matter, forming a three-person special committee that will conduct an "independent, thorough and expeditious" review. The board made no statement on Hart’s plans to leave the company except to thank her for her service.

A person familiar with the situation stated that Hart, a Yahoo director since 2010, is stepping aside because "she felt she couldn't handle the demands" of being both a Yahoo director and a CEO at the same time. "She didn't sign up for this [Yahoo situation],'' the person added.

Her fellow Yahoo board members have stated that they don’t consider Hart to be the “fall guy” in the Thompson situation, acknowledging that the entire board is responsible.

Thompson has yet to publicly discuss the matter but on Monday, he apologized in an email to employees for how it has affected the company. He also told some individuals that he didn’t notice the mistaken academic record until it was pointed out last week, according to people familiar with the matter — despite the fact that the false credentials were posted in multiple places online.

Hart’s decision to leave the board comes as it is in the process of being completely revamped due to pressure by Third Point, a hedge fund that is trying to gain seats on the board.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin