Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb, who controls 5.8% of Yahoo’s shares, continues to punch away at the Yahoo board — which seems to already be on the ropes following the disclosure that Thompson misrepresented his bachelor’s degree. This morning Loeb sent directors a letter urging them to place himself and three colleagues (including former NBCUniversal chief Jeff Zucker) on Yahoo’s board. He wants them to name an interim CEO to replace Thompson. And he wants one of his allies, media consultant Michael Wolf, to chair a search committee to find a full time replacement. “Third Point has over $1 billion invested in Yahoo! and we take no joy in witnessing this carnage,” Loeb writes. “This Board’s unchecked value destruction must stop once and for all.”
Thompson apologized to Yahoo employees in a memo this week for “how this issue has affected the company and all of you.” Yahoo says it made an “inadvertent” mistake by saying in a proxy and on its Web site that Thompson’s undergraduate degree from Stonehill College was in accounting and computer science; it was actually in business administration with a major in accounting. Yesterday the board formed a special committee to investigate his credentials. And board member Patti Hart — who was supposed to vet Thompson’s background, and who also came under fire for misrepresenting her academic record — said that she would leave at the end of her term.
But Loeb says that Thompson’s apology is insufficient: The “only thing he actually regrets is that he has been caught in a lie and publicly exposed.” He also calls it “farcical” 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 wants Hart to return the $15,000 she received for leading the search process that led to Thompson becoming CEO in January. The shareholder says that Wolf will waive the fee to find a replacement. In the meantime, Loeb says that CFO Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn could temporarily serve as CEO, “assuming neither had any knowledge of Mr. Thompson’s fabrications.”
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