Entrepreneurs Agree: Yahoo Had to Get Rid of Thompson
BY John McDermott
Scott Thompson stepped down as CEO this weekend after inaccuracies were found on his resume. See why these entrepreneurs think it was the right move.
Scott Thompson stepped down abruptly as Yahoo CEO amid a controversy over inaccuracies in his resume.
Scott Thompson stepped down abruptly as Yahoo CEO this weekend amid a controversy over inaccuracies in his official biography--specifically, charges that he padded his academic record with an additional degree in computer science.
Inc. asked several entrepreneurs if they thought Yahoo should have stood by Thompson after the inaccuracies were made public. Here are their responses:
We live in a hyper-connected, social world where anyone can check the facts you present about your career or education. Executives at any company have to be completely transparent about their backgrounds and past experiences. There's nowhere to hide on the Web, and that's a good thing.
[This kind of controversy] sends a signal to customers that the company they are doing business with does not trade on honesty and integrity. If the accusations of a padded resume are true, Yahoo did the right thing by sending a strong signal that this kind of embellishment will not be tolerated.
Any executive found lying about their resume should be fired—with cause—immediately. Not least because it's the right thing to do, but more importantly, because the board has a fiduciary duty of care to its stockholders. How can the board trust them to have been truthful about everything else, now or in the future?
Letting him stay would send the message to the team, customers, and investors that dishonesty was acceptable under certain circumstances. Even if this was a minor blunder, it happened on Thompson's watch, so proceeding without holding him accountable would have been irresponsible.
I would discuss it with the CEO to understand why this occurred, and try to ascertain if the person understands why it casts a large shadow of doubt on him. Whether this concludes with a public mea culpa, a voluntary resignation, or a forced dismissal would depend on other specifics.
When completing a job application, a candidate typically agrees that falsified information will be considered justification for dismissal, whenever discovered. If the company were to terminate other employees for such a violation, they should also terminate Scott for the same violation.
JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com. @J_M_McDermott