Yahoo CEO apologises to employees in memo

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 09 May 2012

SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo Inc’s board convened on Monday afternoon to discuss the mounting upset surrounding chief executive Scott Thompson, who has apologised to employees after being accused last week by activist investor Daniel Loeb of padding his resume, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the board meeting was expected to address aspects of an internal review, including which board members would participate.

Thompson issued an apology for the fallout from disclosures about his academic credentials in an e-mailed memo to Yahoo employees on Monday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.        

The memo came hours after Loeb, chief executive of hedge fund Third Point, which holds 5.8% of Yahoo’s shares, formally demanded in a letter that the Internet company turn over all records related to Thompson’s hiring.       

“I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you,” Thompson wrote in his first extended memo to employees since the disclosures emerged on May 3.

“We have all been working very hard to move the company forward and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologise to you.”

Thompson added that he would “respect” the board’s plans to conduct a thorough and independent review.       

“I am hopeful that this matter will be concluded promptly,” he wrote. “But, in the meantime, we have a lot of work to do.”       

Yahoo, whose revenue slid by more than a fifth last year, brought in Thompson, former president of eBay Inc subsidiary PayPal, as chief executive in January, five months after Carol Bartz was fired.       

Third Point, which last week revealed the discrepancies in Thompson’s education record, wants Yahoo to publicly reveal the process by which Thompson was vetted and disclose all minutes of any board meeting in which his candidacy was discussed.       

Yahoo’s board has said it was investigating the issue.       

“We believe that this internal investigation by this board must not be conducted behind a veil of secrecy and shareholders deserve total transparency,” Loeb said in his latest letter on Yahoo.       

Loeb cited Delaware corporation law that allows a shareholder to inspect a company’s books if that person has a proper purpose and meets procedural requirements.

Yahoo’s latest troubles come as it is likely weeks away from selling 15% to 25% of Alibaba Group’s shares back to that company after months of negotiations.

The deal with Alibaba, parent of China’s largest listed e-commerce company Ltd, is expected to be designed to avoid the complexities that had hindered earlier talks, a source said last week. – Reuters


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