How much is a fabricated resume worth? If you're the ousted CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson, it's worth a cold hard $7 million for five months of controversial work.
Thompson faced a barrage of criticism after it was discovered that he'd added a fake computer science degree to his resume. Even before the resume scandal broke, he was criticized for the aggressive legal actions he led Yahoo into against social networking giant Facebook.
While Thompson will not be receiving a severance package for his departure from Yahoo, the former CEO will walk away with $7 million in bonuses that he accrued during his time with the company. This and other information was revealed in Yahoo's SEC filing earlier this week.
Yahoo! and Mr. Thompson agreed to terminate all other agreements between them, including Mr. Thompson's offer letter, all outstanding but not fully vested equity awards and Yahoo!'s other plans and arrangements for the benefit of employees, with no severance compensation, the Internet giant said in its 8-K SEC filing. However, in accordance with the terms of his offer letter, Mr. Thompson retained the make-whole cash bonus previously paid to him under his offer letter and the make-whole restricted stock units that had been granted to him pursuant to his offer letter and that had already vested.
In a separate SEC form, the separation agreement, the terms of Thompson's departure were outlined. The most important information is in the accrued amounts that Thompson will be holding: Yahoo! will pay you all Accrued Amounts (as defined below), subject to payroll deductions and required withholdings. You are entitled to these payments regardless of whether or not you sign this Agreement, says the document. Accrued Amounts means any accrued but unpaid base salary through date of termination paid in accordance with normal payroll practices, unreimbursed business expenses incurred prior to the date of termination paid in accordance with Company policies, and accrued but unused vacation time through the date of termination due in accordance with Company plans and policies. With respect to reimbursement for business expenses incurred prior to termination of your employment, you agree that, within thirty (30) days following the Separation Date, you will submit your final expense reimbursement statement and required documentation reflecting all business expenses you incurred through the Separation Date, if any, for which you seek reimbursement. For a copy of the Yahoo! expense form, please email email@example.com. You should submit completed expense reports and receipts to the Expense Report Department at Yahoo!, 701 First Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94089.
The Future of Yahoo
Thompson will be succeeded by Ross Levinsohn, who is filling in as an interim CEO. Levinsohn has been with the company since 2010, when he began serving as the company's vice president of the Americas. He'll face most of the same challenges all of his predecessors have.
Levinsohn will need to stabilize the company in the midst of an eight-month search engine market share decline. He'll also need to repair Yahoo's relationship with Facebook after Thompson lashed out against the social networking giant in a series of patent lawsuits. Most importantly, Levinsohn will need to ensure that Yahoo's media business -- which attracts about 700 million visitors a month -- will continue to generate ad sales in the face of competition from Facebook, Google and several smaller startups.
Analysts are expecting Levinsohn to leverage his relationships with clients in the media and advertising industry to spur growth at Yahoo. As a former employee at MySpace and search engine AltaVista, Levinsohn grew a reputation as a businessman who works well with clients.
One of Levinsohn's greatest achievements was while he was at News Corp. He was reportedly instrumental in getting the Rupert Murdoch empire to purchase what was then a larger social network than Facebook, MySpace. Ross understands what brand advertisers want from the Internet, said a former colleague of Levinsohn in a Bloomberg report. He understands premium content, great audiences and thinking at scale. Yahoo would be lucky to have him long term.
Of course, that idea didn't turn out so brilliantly for News Corp. It bought MySpace for $580 million in 2005, and sold it last year for $35 million.