Did the CEO of Yahoo really lose his job because he lied on his CV?
Can you be fired for lying on your CV? Well, it looks like lying could very well lose you your job, if you work for Yahoo that is.
We've all told a fib or two on our CV’s at some stage. Maybe you've said that you were the shot put champion back in primary school or top of your class in… puppetry? Well, it looks like lying on your CV could very well lose you your job, especially if you work for Yahoo.
So who was fired? What exactly for? And will telling a white lie on your CV really get you fired? So many questions…
What’s this about someone from Yahoo getting fired for lying?
Well, Yahoo, the internet search giant (no, not that one), has been caught up in this lying scandal since May 3 when it was first discovered that the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Thompson had been lying about his college credentials. Basically, he made his CV look more impressive than it actually was. In fairness, who out there hasn’t?
I hear ya! But who exactly is stepping down?
Scott Thompson, the man in question. He was appointed CEO of the company four months ago in January after Carol Bartz, the CEO back then, was fired over the phone. So it’s safe to say that they haven’t had the best of luck with CEO’s as of late.
What exactly did he lie about? How big his… wallet was?
Eh… no. It had nothing to do with his wallet. It’s actually quite interesting. Thompson was called out, in a typical schoolyard fashion, after it was discovered that he had padded out the degree side of his CV.
According to Yahoo’s most recent annual report, which all CEO’s must swear are truthful, Mr Thompson holds a degree in computer science from Stonehill College, a private Catholic college in Massachusetts.
Yahoo’s latest report actually reads as follows: "Mr. Thompson holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Computer Science from Stonehill College." However, Thompson only holds an accounting degree from the college.
Has he always lied about it?
Well, that’s one way to put it. Another is to say he hasn’t always told the truth. According to CNN, references to a "Computer Science" degree also appeared in his online biographical information on the PayPal website when Thompson was president.
However, Thompson's degree information is listed accurately in eBay's regulatory filings and in the bio featured in filings for the company F5, where he serves as a director. In both bios, the companies state: "Mr Thompson holds a B.S. in Accounting from Stonehill College.” So, as you can see, it says nothing about a computer science degree there.
So how was he found out?
A group called Third Point found the ‘little white lie’ hidden in Thompson’s CV at the start of the month. Third Point are an activist shareholder group who actually look for this sort of thing within a company – in this case Yahoo – in order to make the company more stable.
Groups like Third Point act to put public pressure on a top company’s management, so most of these groups actually do good for society. The CEO of Third Point, Dan Leob, is getting the credit for this one. Let's hope CV is tip-top or another CEO head could roll.
What’s going to happen now?
Now that Third Point have found a weakness in Yahoo’s business plan, i.e. a lying CEO, they now plan to elect a new Yahoo board comprised of Third Point nominees.
A few back-room people from Yahoo are also stepping down for letting the blunder occur in the first place, but that was inevitable.
So what have we learned from this?
Well, when someone tells you that it’s ok to lie on your CV because “no one actually checks it”, you had better remember this story and remove 'Hang Gliding' from your list of hobbies. Come on, who are you kidding?