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Yahoo Shareholder Calls for Interim CEOs to Replace Scott Thompson

Daniel Loeb, a prominent Yahoo shareholder, continued his campaign to reshape the leadership structure at the flagging internet giant

Yahoo shareholder Daniel Loeb on Wednesday reiterated his call for Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson to resign for lying on his resumé, offering two nominations for an interim CEO.

Loeb, who was already in the midst of a proxy fight with the Yahoo board, uncovered last week that Thompson listed a fake computer science degree on his resume.

That same falsification appeared on documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since then, Yahoo's board has launched a special investigation into the hiring of Thompson (left) — but that is not enough for Loeb.

In his letter Wednesday, Loeb again demanded Thompson's resignation, suggesting offered two nominations from within Yahoo for an interim CEO — CFO Tim Morse and Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn.

He suggested Michael Wolf, the former president and COO of MTV, lead the search for a new permanent replacement for Thompson

“It appears very clear to us – and to many corporate governance experts, Yahoo! employees, and fellow Yahoo! shareholders – that Mr. Thompson's fantasy degree was in no way an "inadvertent error,” Loeb wrote in a letter to the company's board Wednesday. “The evidence shows he had been using false credentials for years.

“Without any explanation or accountability, Yahoo! has been left to flounder under a discredited leader for an undefined period. So, after six days, we must ask – what is this Board waiting for?”

Patti Hart, charged with vetting Thompson, resigned on Tuesday — the first domino to fall in Loeb's quest to remake Yahoo's corporate governance.

Here's the full text of the letter:

Dear Board of Directors:

Six days have passed since Yahoo! acknowledged the fabrications in Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson and Director Patti Hart's resumes. Since then, the following has occurred: (i) shareholders have been told that Mr. Thompson's errors were "inadvertent", (ii) Mr. Thompson made a classic "I'm sorry you feel that way" non-apology without actually accepting responsibility, (iii) Ms. Hart announced she will not seek re-election to the Board presumably due to her leadership of the botched CEO hiring process but intends to serve out her term, and (iv) the Board has formed a special committee to conduct a "thorough review" into Mr. Thompson's academic credentials.

It appears very clear to us – and to many corporate governance experts, Yahoo! employees, and fellow Yahoo! shareholders – that Mr. Thompson's fantasy degree was in no way an "inadvertent error". The evidence shows he had been using false credentials for years. Mr. Thompson's "apology" was clearly insufficient and it seems that the only thing he actually regrets is that he has been caught in a lie and publicly exposed. Without any explanation or accountability, Yahoo! has been left to flounder under a discredited leader for an undefined period. So, after six days, we must ask – what is this Board waiting for?

It seems farcical to us 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. The necessary investigation into whether certain senior executives and Board Members knew of Mr. Thompson's deceptions before hiring him should not delay decisive action over his ethical breaches.

Third Point has over $1 billion invested in Yahoo! and we take no joy in witnessing this carnage. This Board's unchecked value destruction must stop once and for all. Therefore, we once again call upon the Board to immediately (i) place Third Point's entire slate on the Board replacing Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart, (ii) appoint an interim CEO—we would suggest CFO Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn (assuming neither had any knowledge of Mr. Thompson's fabrications) and (iii) allow Third Point nominee Michael Wolf to Chair the Search Committee for a new permanent CEO (Mr. Wolf will waive the $15,000 fee that Ms. Hart received for her work as Head of the Search Committee last year, which we expect she will promptly disgorge).

This is the only way for Yahoo! to move past this embarrassing episode.

Sincerely,
Daniel S. Loeb
Chief Executive Officer
Third Point LLC

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