Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson has stepped down following a controversy over his college degree. All Things Digital was the first to report the resignation, but CNBC and NBC news confirmed the story by mid-morning Sunday.
The company blamed “personal reasons” for Thompson's departure.
Yahoo’s board met Sunday and made several key changes. The first was the removal of Thompson. It also named Ross Levinsohn as interim CEO and Fred Amoroso as chairman of its board. All of those things are effective immediately.
Thompson found himself in the middle of a resume scandal after major shareholder Daniel Loeb claimed he discovered Thompson didn't have the computer science degree listed in a regulatory document.
Loeb and his hedge fund Third Point lead a campaign to shake up Yahoo's board, and he clearly accomplished that goal Sunday.
Loeb initially wrote a letter to Yahoo's board of directors that read in part: "If Mr. Thompson embellished his academic credentials we think that it 1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the CEO who has been tasked with leading Yahoo! at this critical juncture. Now more than ever Yahoo! investors need a trustworthy CEO."
Yahoo immediately confirmed the error, but declared it "inadvertent."
Then Thompson wrote a memo apologizing for allowing an inaccuracy about his education to appear in his official bio. The memo, which was released to AP, did not offer any explanation as to why his bio has periodically listed a bachelor's degree in computer science that he never received.
He assured Yahoo employees, "We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect," Thompson wrote. "For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you."
The apology was apparently not enough.
Thompson is out.
Amoroso, the new chairman of the board, was the board member leading the investigation into inaccuracies on Thompson's resume. The interim CEO Levinsohn is Yahoo's head of global media.
The Third Point hedge fund owns a 6 percent stake in Yahoo. Third Point CEO Dan Loeb and two of his nominees will join Yahoo's board. Four directors who had planned to retire at the annual meeting will step down immediately.
Levinsohn spoke in the last week at a Media Council Breakfast. You can see the interview at this link or below.