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Time to Go Pinocchio

May 8, 2012
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The CEO of a search engine lies on his resume and thinks he won't get caught? Oh, the irony. . .

In case you missed it, it's been discovered that Scott Thompson, the new CEO of Yahoo, has allowed what he calls an "inaccuracy" to be reflected in his official bio.  It seems that Scott didn't feel his (legitimate) degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting was impressive enough so he fabricated an additional degree in computer science to make himself a better catch.  Apparently besides appearing in Thompson's bio in recent SEC documents and on Yahoo's website, the bogus degree also appeared in other summaries about Thompson's accomplishments during his previous job running eBay Inc.'s online payment service, PayPal.  Whoops.

So whose heads are going to roll as a result of this big fat lie inaccuracy?  According to the Wall Street Journal, Patti Hart, the Yahoo executive who headed up the CEO search committee that recommended Thompson, is packing up her personal photos and Yahoo logoed merchandise as we speak.  The WSJ also reports that Ms. Hart has told at least one individual via email that Yahoo's legal department had hired an outside forensics firm to vet Mr. Thompson.  So, will Yahoo stop at Ms. Hart, or should they go after the head of the legal department who hired the forensics firm who didn't do their proper due diligence?  No need to stop there, perhaps they will then assign the remaining legal department teammembers the project of suing the forensics firm, who surely will fire the poor sap who headed up the research on Mr. Thompson.

Meanwhile, Pinocchio Thompson refuses to own up to his lie, calling it an "inaccuracy," "mistaken information," and an "inadvertent error."  Seriously?  What's really ironic about this situation is that Thompson obviously didn't believe that he would get caught.  Maybe 20 years ago it was possible to lie on a job application, embellish a resume, or jimmy a reference, but thanks to the very technology that Yahoo has helped to develop, it just isn't possible to lie about verifiable information without it eventually coming back to haunt you.  (Except for lying about your weight on your driver's license - no harm there). And in this case, it's also haunting one, and most likely more, somewhat sacrificial lambs who will soon be forced to dust off their own resumes, thanks to that phony degree.  Very unfortunate for all involved.  I, for one, think Thompson should man up and step down.  What do you think?




I think you are right. I think Mr. Lying Pants CEO ought to pack his bags and resign. And oh, recruiter and researcher - talk about caught with your pants down - ouch!

Didn't we all learn as kids that lying gets us in trouble? Why are we constantly hearing about scandals where executives lie? Having a "C" in your title does not ENTITLE you!

You're not being too hard on him, Gwen. The irony of this situation is beyond belief. You go for calling him out.

Cassie Thiessen