Yahoo boots Thompson, names Ross Levinsohn interim CEO

A resume error brings down not only CEO Scott Thompson, but also four of Yahoo's directors. A settlement with investor Daniel Loeb will put him and two allies on the Internet pioneer's board.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
Expertise processors, semiconductors, web browsers, quantum computing, supercomputers, AI, 3D printing, drones, computer science, physics, programming, materials science, USB, UWB, Android, digital photography, science Credentials
  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. Stephen Shankland/CNET

Yahoo's global media leader, Ross Levinsohn, took over today as Yahoo's interim chief executive, replacing Scott Thompson in a shake-up that also will put activist investor Daniel Loeb on the Internet pioneer's board.

Yahoo announced the change along with another big one: Fred Amoroso is now chairman of the board, replacing Roy Bostock. Bostock, along with Patti Hart, VJ Joshi, Arthur Kern, and Gary Wilson, resigned from the board.

Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn
Yahoo interim CEO Ross Levinsohn Greg Sandoval/CNET

Thompson left after Loeb's hedge fund, Third Point, discovered that Thompson's resume falsely claimed he had a computer science degree. Third Point, which owns 5.8 percent of the company's stock, had launched a proxy battle to seat its dissident-director slate on Yahoo's board.

In a settlement of the proxy fight, Loeb and two allies -- Harry J. Wilson and Michael J. Wolf -- will join the Yahoo board May 16.

"Harry, Michael, and I are delighted to join the Yahoo Board and work collaboratively with our fellow directors to foster a culture of leadership dedicated to innovation, excellence in corporate governance, and responsiveness to users, advertisers, and partners," Loeb said in a statement. "We are confident this board will benefit from shareholder representation, and we are committed to working with new leadership to unlock Yahoo!'s significant potential and value."

The resume-inflicted ordeal that Thompson endured has been matched by an even more grueling struggle for stable management at Yahoo. The company in recent years has moved in rapid succession through CEOs Jerry Yang, Carol Bartz, and now Thompson. More management uncertainty now awaits.

All Things D reported earlier today that Yahoo was expected to oust Thompson, name Levinsohn CEO, and give the chairmanship to Amoroso.

Amoroso had this to say about the overhauled management:

The board is pleased to announce these changes and the settlement with Third Point, and is confident that they will serve the best interests of our shareholders and further accelerate the substantial advances the company has made operationally and organizationally since last August. The board believes in the strength of the company's business and assets, and in the opportunities before us, and I am honored to work closely with my fellow directors and Ross to continue to drive Yahoo forward.

The slate of directors Yahoo now hopes to see elected at the 2012 annual meeting now consists of Amoroso, Loeb, Wilson, Wolf, John Hayes, Peter Liguori, Thomas McInerney, Maynard Webb, Sue James, David Kenny, and Brad Smith, Yahoo said.

Loeb's arrival on the board marks a change for Yahoo. Ten days ago, Yahoo dismissed Loeb as a possible director, saying he "does not bring the relevant skill set and experience to the board."

Updated 1:13 p.m PT with further background.