Rather than deal with business, directors of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), the No. 3 search engine, have been busy all week in the resume embellishment scandal that forced one director to quit and put the CEO under a cloud.
Indeed, early Friday the embattled Sunnyvale, Calif., company finally advised the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that director Patti Hart, 56, CEO of Interactive Gaming Technologies (NYSE: IGT), wouldn't run for re-election at next Thursday's annual meeting.
Earlier, Yahoo officially advised the SEC a special committee had been formed to probe the resume embellishment of CEO Scott Thompson, 54. The probe will be aided by an expensive outside lawyer from Los Angeles.
Dissident shareholder Third Point Capital, which owns about 5.2 percent of Yahoo, has been crowing all week. Reports said the hedge fund run by Daniel Loeb has recruited allies, including Capital Research and Management Co., the Los Angeles mutual funds complex, which owns about 10.6 percent of the shares.
Thompson's problem is the legal filings he made with the SEC that said he held degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College, near Boston. Third Point officials called Stonehill and were told Thompson didn't have a computer science degree -- a credential the private college did not begin offering until four years after he graduated, Loeb said.
Third Point also called Illinois State University, which affirmed Hart only held a degree in business administration, not in marketing and economics, as the filing claimed.
Although Thompson may get the ax next week, he's far from the only CEO to get ensnared by resume exaggerations. Here are some others:
RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH). The Fort Worth, Tex.-based electronics retailer hired a new CEO, David Edmondson, to succeed turnaround master Len Roberts in 2005. Although Edmondson had worked at RadioShack for more than a decade, no one vetted his resume until he became CEO.
He was forced to resign after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram discovered he hadn't received degrees in theology and psychology from Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City.
Concur Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: CNQR). Concur CEO Steve Singh was caught in 2009 by Barry Minkow, the ex-con who'd served time for his part in a carpet-cleaning and restoration company called ZZZZ Best. Minkow, who later devoted his attention to religion and corporate ethics, is back in prison for insider trading and fraud.
In SEC filings, Singh asserted he'd graduated from the University of Michigan; however, Minkow learned that he left without a degree. After a board probe at the Redmond, Wash., company that specializes in expenses management software, Singh won a reprieve.
On Concur's most recent proxy, no mention is made of any educational background for Singh or any other director or officer, including his brother, Rajeev Singh, who is chief operating officer.
Bausch & Lomb. Ron Zarrella, the former chairman and chief executive of the Rochester, N.Y., eye products company, was caught in a resume uproar while Bausch & Lomb was still public in 2002. (It is now controlled by private equity giant Warburg Pincus.)
Zarrella, a former Senior VP of General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), was recruited in 2001 to turn Bausch & Lomb around. He was later forced to admit that he falsely claimed to have a MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. Although he attended the program, he never actually graduated with a degree.
It was pretty stupid, he said at the time. I told the directors I was responsible. He kept his job because the company deemed him to valuable to fire, although he did forfeit some bonus money. He retired from the company in March 2008, five months after it was sold to Warburg Pincus.