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Yahoo CEO Wrongly Claimed To Have Degree In Computer Science 363

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
jmcbain writes "Scott Thompson, Yahoo!'s CEO who was hired on January 4 of this year, was found to have lied about his CS degree from Stone Hill College. Investigation from an activist shareholder revealed that his degree was actually in accounting, and apparently Thompson had been going with this lie since the time he served as president of PayPal's payments unit."
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Yahoo CEO Wrongly Claimed To Have Degree In Computer Science

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  • So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:13PM (#39885889)

    Was he able to do the job well? Does it REALLY matter? If he got away with it that long I say good for him, if his employers aren't smart enough or care enough to verify they weren't really that concerned about his credentials.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:13PM (#39885893)
    "Investigation from an activist shareholder revealed that his degree was actually in accounting" Back when I worked for Disney we called Eisner that guy from accounting, it's actually a Berke Breathed quote we borrowed. It's amazing how many of these supposed CEOs are glorified accountants. Kind of explains the whole lack of imagination in big business.
  • by caywen (942955) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:17PM (#39885933)

    If you can get to the top ranks of a tech company without a CS degree, it's almost like a big FU to all of us that do hold CS degrees. I've always was kind of awed by people I work with that understand everything I do about technology and even CS concepts but don't have a degree. It's humbling and enlightening. Despite being 10x harder, a BSCS is kind of treated like a liberal arts degree these days. It's something to be personally proud of, but it seems to hold no real weight on ones resume. At least, that's how it seems.

    So, IMO that makes it an even bigger red flag when someone claims to have such a degree when they don't. It speaks to me of true cluelessness.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by J Story (30227) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:22PM (#39885963) Homepage

    Was he able to do the job well? Does it REALLY matter? If he got away with it that long I say good for him, if his employers aren't smart enough or care enough to verify they weren't really that concerned about his credentials.

    Maybe this is an indication that degrees are over-rated. Or to be charitable, that it isn't particularly important exactly what you learn.

  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:24PM (#39885971)

    If he were labor, HR would have sent security to escort him out of the building before this even got to press.

    That must be one hell of a golden parachute he's packing.

  • by slartibartfastatp (613727) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:27PM (#39885999) Journal
    An accounting and liar CEO - that's gonna work.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:30PM (#39886019)

    If you can get to the top ranks of a tech company without a CS degree, it's almost like a big FU to all of us that do hold CS degrees.

    Not really. It has long been known that there's a glass ceiling for *any* technical skill (programmer, chemist, etc.), and that the only way to rise above a certain level is to switch to management.

    If you want to rise to the top, any degree that gets your foot in the door will suffice. Then switch to management as soon as you can.

    Study CS if you want to do technical stuff instead of climb the company ladder.

  • Re:CEO's (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:33PM (#39886047)

    Why do CEO's in this country think they are above everyone else, demanding excessive compensation and feel they can prevaricate with impunity when it suits their purposes?

    Because people continue to give them excessive compensation, and they keep getting away with the lies... In other words, they believe that because it is true.

  • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:36PM (#39886071)

    Depending on the job at hand, it's certainly true. One of the major things of having a degree is that it proves you have a certain learning capability, and self discipline to get it done. And after a few years, degrees count less and less, as actual job experience takes over.

    Though especially the more technical fields where the actual background/scientific knowledge counts it's not "just any" degree that will land you such a job.

    Besides, I'm used to employers taking a resume for granted, and not doing much of checking (as long as the whole thing makes sense). Yet for a CEO function I'd expect a bit more of background checks being done. A simple call to the university the person says to have graduated from would suffice to confirm he actually has that degree. Or not, in this case.

  • by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe.jwsmythe@com> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:48PM (#39886159) Homepage Journal

        Falsifying credentials at hire time are usually grounds for immediate termination, regardless of how long you have worked for a company.

        I wonder what their history of termination for this kind of issue have been.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:49PM (#39886161) Journal

    Oh fer crissake...

    The man lied. Nothing more to it than that

    "wrongly claimed"... give me a break.

  • by rtb61 (674572) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @10:51PM (#39886175) Homepage

    Well no really because of course that ruthless and efficient leader is all about ruthless and efficient salary, bonuses and of course golden parachute.

    Ruthless and efficient thinking ie psychopathic thinking demands that those with the greatest resources make the most profitable victims, in this case it is the investors.

    The pattern should be pretty obvious by now. Fudge the books to create the false illusion of high profits, ramp up salary and bonuses, make it look like you are doing something through acquisitions, mergers and, mass sackings. Make it all last as long as possible and try to avoid jail when you bail with your golden parachute just before the company goes belly up.

    Modern CEO no qualifications required beyond excellence in PR=B$ (lies for profit).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:30PM (#39886365)

    actually, a lying accountant would be an oxymoron, as an accountant is usually known to be truthful, due to certifications taken to become an accountant. while he may not have actively passed his cpa certification etc, if you were to be an accountant, you wouldn't be a liar, as that isn't in the code of conduct, in the sense of the word. it's like an unfaithful lawyer, as a lawyer must be faithful to his client, else he would lose his own bar certification.

    however, you calling it on usage, is saying that a shrimp couldn't be jumbo, because shrimp CAN be large, however, by the meaning of shrimp, an association with "jumbo" would be oxymoronic.

    it's cool if i'm wrong, i'm knee deep in vodka, but hell, I'm pretty sure we all got his joke.

  • Fire Him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JStyle (833234) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:32PM (#39886373)
    I say fire him immediately. Having someone at the top who egregiously lied for so long sets the tone for the whole company. That's not how you want to do business, so that's not who you want as your leader.
  • by mortonda (5175) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:39PM (#39886411)

    Not really. It has long been known that there's a glass ceiling for *any* technical skill (programmer, chemist, etc.), and that the only way to rise above a certain level is to switch to management.

    If you can't do it, teach. If you can't teach, get into management. If you can't manage, run for office. :D

  • Re:So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:51PM (#39886473) Journal

    "Look! I can sit in a classroom and waste my money! Doesn't this automatically mean I'm good enough to do the job!?"

    As opposed to; "To be blunt I'm special, you'll just have to trust me on that because I can't be bothered jumping through your hoops just to convince you that your own degree is worthless. When do I start?"

  • by lightknight (213164) on Thursday May 03, 2012 @11:56PM (#39886491) Homepage

    Hmm. And there in lies the problem.

    An IT department may be viewed as stocking multiple redundancies, such RAID, backup servers, and let's be honest, a large inventory of computers parts that are not currently being used. Management, classically trained, will look at all those DVI and HDMI cables, and wonder why IT needs to many of them. So what do they do? Play the fools game by trying to measure the 'real' needs of IT, by cutting their budget, and making the manager of said vision beg for parts. They are not aware that those extra parts are kept on hand because it's more efficient, in the 'we are paying our employees an impressive hourly wage / salary, and it does us no good for them to continue to be paid for twiddling their thumbs while we wait a day or two for the parts they need to come in.' Someone will then offer to pick up said items from a local supplier who will, of course, noticing their immediate need, have the company paying good money for shite product. And when you factor in shipping costs, as well as the (very often) lower costs of ordering from an online supplier, it makes sense to order in bulk.

  • Re:So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 04, 2012 @12:04AM (#39886523)

    Was he able to do the job well? Does it REALLY matter? If he got away with it that long I say good for him, if his employers aren't smart enough or care enough to verify they weren't really that concerned about his credentials.

    Yes it matters. He committed fraud. Whether or not it worked out he denied the people who chose him the right to consider him based on his actual qualifications. There is a lot of money at stake.

    Do you think a society in which everyone is permitted to lie on their resume without consequences is a good idea. Leaving aside for a moment jobs where practicing without a qualification is strictly illegal and a criminal offence (doctor, pilot etc) consider what would happen if everyone started lying. Imagine the cost of verifying every qualification, not to mention the privacy issues.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Friday May 04, 2012 @12:17AM (#39886591) Homepage

    Or you could study CS, and start your own company with you at the top.

    If you're working at a place where there's a glass ceiling, but a place which cannot exist without people like you, then you're in the company of idiots.

    Sadly, I've seen a few companies run like this. Typically, the founders had technical degrees, or if they had business degree, they minored in an appropriate technical field (so they could understand what everyone else was saying, without hand-holding). A generation or two later, marketing is running the show, with the techs being treated like sharecroppers working on mastah's fields. Why does this always seem to happen? The techs focus on skills that are useful, while the marketing people focus on being liked. So when a vote comes down to install the next CxO, the most charismatic, but somewhat clueless person, with lots of 'spunk' is chosen. And what's good for marketing is typically not good for HR, Legal, Accounting, or Tech.

  • Fired for fraud (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lanner (107308) on Friday May 04, 2012 @01:32AM (#39886933)

    Failure for Yahoo's board to terminate his employment with cause for fraud would be a clear indication of corruption at the highest levels in the organization.

    I would not be surprised if he were to stay. That's just how those people think. It's basically the good 'ol boy system in the modern day.

  • by Magada (741361) on Friday May 04, 2012 @05:28AM (#39887889) Journal

    Interestingly enough, what you describe is a case of shitty cost accounting.

  • by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Friday May 04, 2012 @11:25AM (#39890809)

    Sadly, there are few people who have the luxury of completing two master's level degrees and optionally a doctorate.

    What, no, that's just plain silly. In order for advanced degrees to have value, you have to work in the field, then either get the degree while working, or take time off work. Not right out of undergrad.

    Your hypothetical monster combo is going to be 40 years old at a minimum in order to be of any value. You can get the degrees quickly, and then spend 5 years working before you really understand how it works.

    Only your last line makes sense. Get the IT based degree, and partner with someone who has the business sense. The difference is, you are equal partners. Not the IT guy in the dungeon being told what to do. That is a powerful combination, two people who can complement each other. Not a single monstrosity who thinks he knows everything and has to consult no one.

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