Scott Thompson is the CEO of Yahoo, a position he has held since January, after moving from PayPal. An activist shareholder recently discovered that Scott has falsified his CV and bio, claiming to have a BA in Computer Science when in fact he only has a BA in Accounting.
The press over the last few days have reported that he has apologised to Yahoo staff. This is not really the case. He has apologised to them for how the issue is affecting the company and their ability to focus on their jobs, but he has not admitted any error (although there clearly is one), nor any wrongdoing (again, that seems clear). Read ComputerWorld UK’s reporting of this here.
What should be done now? Well, it depends really on how this happened. I agree with the sentiments in this report from the Washington Post, which suggest that his knowledge of the error is a vital factor.
But my own advice is simpler still. He should resign or be fired. Yes, he should do so because he lied. That would be enough reason. But I suggest that there is an even better – and bigger – reason to do so.
As the head of an Internet search and information company, the fact that he thought he could get away with a falsification of this nature is an indication of a gross misunderstanding of the new rules of the new world of work. Transparency, openness of data, and the power of the small people to uncover injustice and untruth, are all ubiquitous and part of the new operating system of the world we’re busy constructing. To ignore this, or worse, to think that you can outplay it, is indication of a person unfit to make be making leadership decisions in this type of company.
How long is it going to take big companies and big men to realise that we live in a wikileaks world?
Yes, he lied on his CV, and so Scott Thompson should go. But he also clearly doesn’t understand the world he was supposed to be shaping. And for that reason alone, Yahoo should say goodbye.