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A jab at Yahoo's Thompson, invoking Bartz

An activist investor in Yahoo claims a mutual acquaintance spoke with former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, who reminded them that she does, in fact, have a computer science degree.

Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz
Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz Yahoo

Former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz recently let loose a scathing one-liner directed at her previous employer, according to an activist investor.

"Just heard Carol Bartz's reaction to L'Affair Thompson by someone who talked to her," Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital, tweeted today. "'By the way, I DO have a Computer Science degree.'"

The alleged comment was, of course, in reference to the controversy surrounding Bartz's replacement, Scott Thompson, who had claimed to have an accounting and computer science degree. Last week, however, it was revealed by another activist investor, Third Point, that he did not, in fact, have a computer science degree.

Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb, who has launched a proxy war against Yahoo, has upped the intensity in that fight, writing a letter to the company's board of directors demanding they fire Thompson and replace him with an interim CEO until a new leader can be hired.

"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."

In an e-mail exchange with CNET, Jackson wouldn't disclose who had told him about Bartz's comments, saying only that it was "from someone who was in touch with her" and who doesn't "want to be revealed." The topic came up, he says, when he and the person were "chatting about this issue."

Jackson and his company won't divulge how large a stake they hold in Yahoo, but he has made it abundantly clear that he supports Loeb and Third Point. In fact, he told CNET today that he believes Yahoo "employees and shareholders will be much better off with him in the boardroom than with the existing group."

Yahoo hired Bartz as its chief executive in January 2009. At that time, the company issued a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which included mention that Bartz "holds a bachelors degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin." Yahoo fired Bartz last September, citing poor performance. Thompson took over in January of this year.

CNET has contacted Yahoo for a response on the alleged Bartz comment. We will update this story when we have more information.