We’ve all had a little time to breathe after the disclosure last week that Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson embellished his resume. Despite saying he received an undergraduate computer science degree, he in fact did not. And while rising through several positions of increasing responsibility for years, he allowed those vetting his suitability to believe otherwise.
So far Yahoo has said Thompson was guilty of an “inadvertent error” and that it was reviewing the matter. Third Point, the activist shareholder who revealed what had apparently been hiding in plain sight and is trying to grab spots on Yahoo’s board, is now demanding that Yahoo fire Thompson.
Is this what’s best for Yahoo? I doubt it. Is Scott Thompson what’s best for Yahoo? I don’t know. It’s too early to say. And that’s the point.
The company is on its third CEO in as many years, and he’s been on the job one day short of four months. You don’t get from here to there overnight, no matter who’s in charge, and you don’t get from here to there at all if you are constantly taking detours.
Yahoo can afford to have a guy at the helm who didn’t get a CS degree but said he did, but it can’t afford to aimlessly cast about, as it has now for nearly a decade. Unlike some CEOs, Thompson isn’t accused of sexual harassment or running a secret hedge fund within the company. There is something to be said for a bit of calm and a period of continuity.