Third Point: Yahoo needs to appoint an interim CEO -- now

Point man Daniel Loeb decries "farcical efforts" and says Yahoo's board should replace Scott Thompson with former interim CEO Tim Morse or Ross Levinsohn.

Yahoo activist investor and general thorn in the company's side Third Point is back at it with a new letter to the company's board of directors.

Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb today wrote to the board asking it to fire CEO Scott Thompson over errors related to the college education listed on his resume, and replace him with chief financial officer Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn as an interim chief executive.

"It appears very clear to us -- and to many corporate governance experts, Yahoo employees, and fellow Yahoo shareholders -- that Mr. Thompson's fantasy degree was in no way an 'inadvertent error,'" Loeb wrote. "The evidence shows he had been using false credentials for years. Mr. Thompson's 'apology' was clearly insufficient and it seems that the only thing he actually regrets is that he has been caught in a lie and publicly exposed."

The trouble started last week when Third Point revealed that Thompson did not actually have a computer science degree . Yahoo's company Web site, as well as regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, claimed he received both an "accounting and computer science" degree from Stonehill College. Soon after, Loeb requested Yahoo's board fire Thompson by noon EDT on Monday. After the deadline came and went, Loeb issued a letter to the board demanding books and records related to Thompson's vetting process.

Although Thompson has not spoken publicly on the matter, he issued an e-mail to employees earlier this week acknowledging the outcry surrounding his resume and apologizing for how it's affecting them.

"I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you," Thompson wrote. "We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you."

In today's letter, Loeb, whose company has over $1 billion invested in Yahoo, called the missive a "non-apology," while also taking the chance to criticize the board for not properly vetting Thompson before his hiring.

"It seems farcical to us that the Board will most likely spend more time deliberating over whether Mr. Thompson should be fired than it did properly vetting whether he should have been hired," Loeb wrote.

Thompson's former company, eBay, tried to stay above the fray today, telling reporters in Tokyo that when Thompson was hired as head of PayPal, regulatory filings related to his academic credentials were entirely accurate.

"When Scott was hired at eBay, all of eBay's filings had the accurate information," eBay CEO John Donahoe told reporters, according to Bloomberg. "Some of eBay's PR materials had that bio. Our legal filings were taken care of by our legal department. Some of the PR materials had that info."

In addition to demanding Yahoo appoint either Morse (who served as interim CEO after Yahoo fired Carol Bartz last year) or Levinsohn interim CEO, Loeb demanded the online company add its nominees to the board of directors and allow one of those nominees -- Michael Wolf -- to head up the search committee for a new chief executive.

"This is the only way for Yahoo! to move past this embarrassing episode," Loeb wrote.

CNET has contacted Yahoo for comment on the Loeb letter. We will update this story when we have more information.

Update 8:17 a.m. PT to include more details.

 

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