The practice of “padding” a resume or exaggerating experience or educational background is all too common in today’s world for job hunters, but when the strategy is used by top ranking CEOs it can bring on the end of a career. This is exactly the case facing Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson as “discrepancies” have surfaced over his resume for the CEO spot at Yahoo.
The “inadvertent errors”
Thompson’s resume, which was filed with the company’s regulatory documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission, seeminly misrepresented his educational background and claimed that he held a degree in computer science, which he did not. However, he did hold a degree in business administration.
Yahoo called the resume padding by Thompson an “inadvertent” error on his part. His educational background about his computer science degree was widely circulated on his bio on Yahoo but has since been deleted.
Although the resume padding by Thompson was dismissed as an inadvertent error, some industry watchers believe it carries more dire consequences. Hadley Reynolds, an analyst for IDC, said the incident could devastate Yahoo and seriously doubted that the resume misrepresentation was just a common mistake.
"There's no credible way that 10 years or so of public misrepresentation could be inadvertent.
“Also, I ... assume that Scott is personally responsible for the accuracy and veracity of Yahoo's SEC filings...If that's the case, he's at least culpable under those regulations for misrepresenting material info pertinent to investors, inadvertent slips in the curriculum vitae or no."
A blow to Yahoo
Yahoo has had a strenuous workout as far as trying to increase its fortunes amidst a steadily declining market share in the search engine business. The hiring of Scott Thompson was Yahoo’s latest move to bring order and direction to the floundering company.
But with the revelation of falsified credentials in Thompson’s resume, the Yahoo board is caught between a rock and a hard place. If they keep Thompson, the trust in his abilities as CEO is shaken. If they fire Thompson, Yahoo will again be left with the task of searching for another CEO to run the company.
A possible solution to Thompson’s problems is to face the music and admit his wrong doing and hope for the best. Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group believes that the only solution is to fire Thompson.
"A CEO can't be untrustworthy because they are the face of the company and they stand behind the company's financials. It is common to ask an executive who has misrepresented their credentials to step down...”
Doing his job
In April, Thompson let go 2,000 workers from Yahoo and reportedly saved the company $375 million in the process. But with the mass exodus of former employees, hard feelings and resentment probably followed soon after.
While corporate headquarters welcomed the move, the opponents of Thomson, especially those who were let go at Yahoo, probably had some sense of satisfaction in what they would have probably called poetic justice.
No word has come from Yahoo or Thomson regarding the resume problem as of yet.
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