Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Yahoo CEO Looks Like a Great Candidate to Lead the Company – But Looks Can Be Deceiving

Padding the Resume Can be Deceiving Also

Scott Thompson was hired in January to be head of internet search engine company Yahoo.  Mr. Thompson has an undergraduate degree in Accounting, which is certainly sufficient for gaining a top position with an information technology company.  Of course, a degree in computer science would be even better.  So apparently Mr. Thompson got one of those two.

Mr. Thompson - Why is He Smiling
He Just Got a Computer Science Degree!
No Work Involved!!
Except Mr. Thompson did not get his computer science degree the old way, that is, going to class, taking all the required courses, passing exams and  all the other things one must do to get a degree in computer science.  No he used a newer technique, he just added the computer science degree to his resume.

Mr. Thompson, who was hired in January, signed a regulatory filing published last week that stated to the best of his knowledge its contents were accurate. The document said Mr. Thompson had a Bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College.

On Thursday, Stonehill College, a small Catholic institution 30 miles south of Boston, said that the school's computer-science program didn't begin until the early 1980s. A statement confirmed that Mr. Thompson, a Boston native, received a "Bachelor's of Science in Business Administration (Accounting)" on May 20, 1979.


Of course in Mr. Thompson’s defense the error was not really intentional.

The dissident investor, hedge fund Third Point LLC, first brought to light on Thursday that Mr. Thompson didn't earn a college degree in computer science as stated on Yahoo's website and recent regulatory filing. Yahoo acknowledged soon after that Mr. Thompson has only an accounting degree, citing an "inadvertent error," without providing further explanation.

No, it wasn’t inadvertent.  Inadvertent is something like picking up a jelly donut when you really wanted the crème filled one, or accidentally leaving the cat outside at night because there was vomit on the floor in the kitchen and that made you think the cat was already in the house.  Adding a computer science degree to one’s credentials for a person to be head of a major info tech company is pretty deliberate. 

Only if the phony degree had been in something French Poetry could the inadvertent explanation stand.  And no, we are not putting down French Poetry majors, it’s a wonderful degree and does a lot for a person, but it probably does not qualify the recipient to be head of Yahoo.  

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