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Yahoo Board Director Patti Hart Stepping Down Over Thompson Scandal 96

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sealed-fate dept.
concertina226 writes "Yahoo has announced that board member Patti Hart, who led the committee that hired CEO Scott Thompson, will be stepping down. Hart has been under fire for overseeing the hiring of Thompson, whose resume wasn't fully vetted. I know some of you on Slashdot think that Scott Thompson didn't do anything wrong by claiming he had a computer science degree on his CV when he doesn't, but don't you think it's kind of weird that the guy who lied gets to keep his job as CEO, yet this director is being made a scapegoat? It just sends out the message that it's cool to pretend to have qualifications that you don't have."
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Yahoo Board Director Patti Hart Stepping Down Over Thompson Scandal

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  • by Grygus (1143095) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:27PM (#39943693)

    Surely you do not expect that a CEO will be held to account?

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:35PM (#39943801) Journal

      He probably will in due time.

      Ms Hart's problem was that she was put in charge of making sure his history was on the up-and-up, and she screwed up in a big way, potentially costing a metric ton of money to the company (the bulk of that loss going towards some golden parachute that Thompson likely has in his contract.) Long story short, she kinda had it coming for failing to do due diligence. It's not like they were hiring a new janitor - they were hiring the frickin' CEO. Microscopic vetting and researching of a candidate's background is pretty much a normal thing for that position, and the board has to do it - you don't trust that kind of work for that kind of position to HR drones.

      I figure Thompson may get fired, but they probably want to do it in a way that doesn't touch off lawsuits, or force them to pay out whatever severance money is listed in the contract. Yeah, I know that lies in the resume would normally count as a big reason why one can get fired with cause, but I don't know the details of his contract, and maybe the causes are limited to some list, with no one thinking that bullshitting on the resume would be one of those causes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Why would they lose any money on this. Either the man can do the job or he can't. Obviously, he's lasted this long, so he can't be too stupid.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          He lied on his resume. He didn't exagerate or fudge a little, he flat out lied. The fact that so many here are okay with that is astounding. If he'll lie on his resume he'll lie on the balance sheet and to stock holders and anybody else he needs to lie to to get ahead.

      • >> the bulk of that loss going towards some golden parachute
        that Thompson likely has in his contract.

        If he lied on his resume, he won't be parachuting back to earth.

        • by Fluffeh (1273756)

          If he lied on his resume, he won't be parachuting back to earth.

          I am pretty sure that most positions of that level have clauses in them around criminal acts and the like. While it may seem a stretch, lying on your CV may be considered fraud, therefore he got into the job by defrauding the company (whether or not they should have picked it up) and that might be enough to show him the door. Having said that, I dare say that Yahoo will no doubt wait till some of this dust has settled then try to usher in a "quiet" passing of the baton to the next CEO.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rudy_wayne (414635)

        Long story short, she kinda had it coming for failing to do due diligence.

        Nobody likes lying, and it's pretty hard to defend someone who gets caught telling a lie, but, do you really believe that Yahoo hired Scott Thompson because they thought he had a CS degree, from 1979, from some tiny college that nobody has heard of? And the only reason that any of this has come up in the first place is because of a guy who wants a seat on the Yahoo board of directors, but can't get it, so he decides to dig up whatever dirt he can for the sole purpose of embarrassing Yahoo.

        Of course, if the

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hondo77 (324058)

          ...so he decides to dig up whatever dirt he can...

          Did you really call the truth "dirt"? Really?

          • by Imrik (148191)

            That is generally what we mean when we use the phrase 'digging up dirt on someone.' Lies don't work nearly as well.

          • by mypalmike (454265)

            The best "dirt" is true. Otherwise, it's not nearly so dirty.

          • by steelfood (895457)

            More often than not, the truth is dirty.

            For the idealistic and naive, it's abhorring. For the realistic, it's how things get done.

            Despite what they say of age and cynicism, there are more idealistic and naive people out there. At the least, there are plenty of people willing to feign outrage for an ulterior motive and often less savory outcome. Just look at U.S. politics these days.

          • 1. Lie about having a CS degree when interviewing for a CEO position
            2. ???????
            5. profit!!!!

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AtomicJake (795218)

          Long story short, she kinda had it coming for failing to do due diligence.

          Nobody likes lying, and it's pretty hard to defend someone who gets caught telling a lie, but, do you really believe that Yahoo hired Scott Thompson because they thought he had a CS degree, from 1979, from some tiny college that nobody has heard of?

          No, but do you want a CEO (who is also responsible for all employees) who lied in his CV and got caught? Isn't this lie "unethical" behavior and cannot be tolerated in a public company?

          • by rtb61 (674572)

            It seems they are getting a little bit more heated up about this issue than you would normally expect. Perhaps Patti had focused due diligence on Scott's other endowments more than his intellect. Hiring "Terry Bird of the law firm Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks and Licenberg, which is is said to specialise in litigation and internal investigations", sounds like some sort of collusory action going on here. First year income $1 million plus $2 million bonus if approved by the board and $1.5 mi

        • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:57PM (#39945229)

          Once again, slowly, because some people seem to be slow picking up the point.

          The problem is not that he does not have a CS degree. The problem is that he wilfully and knowingly lied to the board and to the company. You may have no problem with a CEO you cannot trust. If I was on that board, I most certainly would.

          • It is the same story as Mark Hurd. Hurd's sin was minor of the scale of things, but it appeared that he blatantly lied on something small and expected that he would never be held accountable because he was Mark Hurd.

            If CEO does not lead by example, it is whatever you can get away, always, all the way down the chain. I suppose there are a number of companies where such is actually true. But the board of directors cannot not look the other way when under the bright lights of public scrutiny and expect to k

        • by n7ytd (230708) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @04:02PM (#39946155)

          Nobody likes lying, and it's pretty hard to defend someone who gets caught telling a lie, but, do you really believe that Yahoo hired Scott Thompson because they thought he had a CS degree, from 1979, from some tiny college that nobody has heard of?

          No, they probably didn't hire him for his CS degree, so why did he feel it necessary to fabricate one? The issue is not if he has a CS degree or not; being a CEO doesn't require knowledge of spanning trees. He probably is a very capable manager-- after all he got this far, right?

          No one comes up smelling like a rose here: the CEO looks like a doofus for fabricating such an easily-debunked lie (or allowing a mistake to propagate, if we want to be generous). The board at large looks like a bunch of doofuses for not bothering to have a secretary make a 5-minute phone call to every institution in his CV. The guy who wants a seat on the board looks like a whiny nit-picker who is just looking for an angle to get leverage for his own agenda.

          The real issue, in my mind, is that if a Chief Officer of a billion dollar company can't be bothered to be ethical about such a stupid, tiddly detail, how can he be trusted to be honest about more weighty matters? Getting this detail wrong in filings to the SEC is at best a lack of fact-checking and at worst flat-out perjury. Who's to say the same guy would not cook the balance sheets or lie to investors?

          If all we can go on is his track record (since his qualifications don't seem to matter), this is a piss-poor first entry in his yet-to-be written record as CEO.

      • Of course he will be held accountable. I'm sure he'll take it well: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2005-06-30/

      • Golden (19.3 g/cm3) parachute? Is that anything like concrete floaties?
    • That damn CEO should be fired with cause just like any one else in the company that lied on their resume. It's a standard HR clause that says you can and will be fired for lying on your application.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      The director was tasked with vetting him and screwed up, and it turns out the director's academic career was also exaggerated (initially reported but I haven't seen much follow up on that point).

  • by notgm (1069012) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:28PM (#39943709)

    ...perhaps it sends the message that what you are able to do, and what you continue to do effectively is more important than what on-paper tests you've passed.

    the board member did not effectively research the candidate...whether or not the CEO works out in the end is of no consequence.

    • Re:or perhaps... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Idbar (1034346) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:35PM (#39943809)
      The message is simple, even though I don't agree with it:
      "The ends justify the means"

      Why wouldn't you want someone like that as a CEO?
    • by donaggie03 (769758) <d_osmeyer@nosPAm.hotmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:37PM (#39943829)

      ...perhaps it sends the message that what you are able to do, and what you continue to do effectively is more important than what on-paper tests you've passed.

      By that logic, the board member selected a candidate for CEO who ended up being successful at it; and therefore did her job effectively. Shouldn't that be more important that what on-paper test the other guy passed?

    • ...perhaps it sends the message that what you are able to do, and what you continue to do effectively is more important than what on-paper tests you've passed. the board member did not effectively research the candidate...whether or not the CEO works out in the end is of no consequence.

      If you, I, or the next poster lied about a degree then we would most likely be fired. Our ability to do the job would be irrelevant. If we were very lucky we would be allowed to re-apply for the job with an accurate resume/cv. I agree that degrees are not strictly necessary. Some *very rare* individuals can learn the same lessons on their own, although nearly all who believe that they can do so are mistaken, and for some things on the job experience can be roughly equivalent. The real intended lesson of au

      • by n7ytd (230708)

        If you, I, or the next poster lied about a degree then we would most likely be fired. [...] The real intended lesson of automatic termination is never falsify your application. Employers rightfully want a very high price to be associated with such falsification.

        Has Yahoo followed this very common policy of instantly terminating anyone who falsified their application? Why does the CEO get a pass compared to all other employees [/sarcasm]? That is the real question that this controversy raises.

        I can't wait to see the CEO brought up in the first wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Maybe I will try to get myself hired at Yahoo, and then when I get fired after it comes to light that I do not have the 5 Ph.D. degrees and 206 awarded patents that I had claimed on my resume, I will cry mightily about the unfair and uneven application of these policies.

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      The CEO clearly disagrees with you, seeing as he jeopardised his career, reputation and company by making up a fictional on-paper test that he fictionally passed.

      You can't have it both ways on that one (any more than any of the other both-way situations in this thread); either a degree on your CV is important enough to fake and be fired for, or it's worthless and not worth thinking about.

  • Give it time. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexander_686 (957440) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:29PM (#39943727)

    It's not that their firing a scapegoat, it is that it takes longer to fire the CEO.

    And I don’t care if he has a Accounting or CS degree. What matters is his leadership abilities, which means setting the tone for values and ethics, which it looks like he is failing at.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      Setting a tone for values and ethics? I doubt that is any part of CEO101. Aslo, its only cool as long as somebody else gets sacrificed.
    • by msobkow (48369)

      There is also the little issue that regardless of whether someone lied on an application, failure to do your due diligence means that you need more than a bad resume to get rid of someone after they've worked more than a year in most jurisdictions. You need a cause for firing people after a certain amount of time.

      Even if an employee hasn't reached "tenure", most companies are very wary of letting someone go who lied during the application process, even if they've proven to be incompetent. I've worked f

      • by pla (258480)
        You need a cause for firing people after a certain amount of time.

        Not in most of the US, you don't.

        Now, executives generally work under an actual contract (how else would they spell out the terms of their golden parachute?), so the same at-will employment laws they lord over their peons don't really apply to them. But "length of employ" doesn't mean as much as most people thing it does.

        Simple example, I always get a kick out of "probationary" periods in at-will states... "So for the next six months,
  • ... but shouldn't the person who actually committed the dishonesty be shown the door?

    Oh thats right. He is the CEO!

    • by Shatrat (855151)

      I suspect he's got a contract that would let him take millions of dollars with him if they showed him the door. Yahoo might still be looking for a way to get rid of him without paying through the nose.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Denholm: I'm gonna put you in I.T. because you said on your CV you have a lot of experience with computers.
    Jen: I did say that on my CV, yes. I have a lot of experience with the whole computer thing you know, emails, sending emails, receiving emails, deleting emails, I could go on.
    Denholm: Do.
    Jen: The web. Using a mouse, mices, using mice. Clicking, double clicking. The computer screen, of course. The keyboard. The... bit that goes on the floor down there.
    Denholm: The hard drive.
    Jen: Correct.
    Denholm: Well,

    • Laugh all you want, but a lot of IT management were actually accounting types back in the '80s and early '90s. They were put in charge of the computers because back then, they were the biggest users of the things. Even at my last job, the Head of IT reported directly to the CFO, and it's apparently pretty common for that chain of command elsewhere.

  • the result might well have been that they would still have hired the guy, but would have avoided to publish an incorrect CV and then the "scandal" would not have been:
    "thomson lied to get hired by Yahoo", but
    "thomson's cv x years ago was not fully correct", but since he did a job that we think is "good enough at the previous position" we still want him...

    So Patti Hart is not fired over "getting the wrong guy in" but over "not doing her homework to make sure that the guy they choose would fit in and be able

    • by slew (2918)

      Perhaps if the Yahoo Board would have fully vetted Ms Hart's CV, the result might have been that the Yahoo board would have still hired her as a director.

      In case you didn't know Ms Hart is currently the CEO of IGT and claimed to have a Economics and Marketing Degree, but actually only had a generic Business Administration degree. So given that she fudged it on her own resume, she likely didn't put much weight into checking out the degree situation when vetting a job candidate (e.g., she was blinded by her

      • Thanks for the info :-), It's hilarious, well I guess IGT is in an ideal situation to understand casino economy and it makes perfect sense to invite them to join the directorship of yahoo :-)
        Will they replace her with somebody from bally ?

  • Alpha Dog (Score:5, Funny)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:39PM (#39943849) Homepage

    don't you think it's kind of weird that the guy who lied gets to keep his job as CEO, yet this director is being made a scapegoat?

    Speaking as someone with a Masters of Social Science, Juris Doctor, and PhD in Theoretical Particle Physics/Cosomolgy, I see no problem with this whatsoever. After all, if someone who's qualified to issue himself a degree isn't good enough to be CEO, then who is?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is the same Patti Hart that ran Excite@Home into the ground.

    • by Dahamma (304068)

      Actually, it's the same Patti Hart who was thrown under the bus by AT&T and the E@H board when at Excite@Home.

      Jermoluk (@Home's CEO) and George Bell (Excite's CEO) ran the company into the ground (along with AT&T, who screwed E@H at the last minute by pulling promised funding - to the tune of an eventual $350M settlement against them!). Patti was hired after all of the actual bad decisions were made and the end was inevitable - her biggest mistake was being naive enough to take the job.

      And now she

  • The rules (of law or otherwise) do not apply to the rich. More seriously: she was no doubt given a large pile of cash to take a bullet.
  • Because ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @01:51PM (#39944013)

    ... lying is part of the job description of a good CEO. Writing code isn't. So Thompson has proven his qualifications. Hart, on the other hand, was given the job of doing a background check on candidates for that job. And she failed.

    It could have been worse. Someone like Patti might have inadvertently let an honest person slip into a companies executive suite. And that would be a real tragedy.

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      ... lying is part of the job description of a good CEO. Writing code isn't. So Thompson has proven his qualifications.

      I see this as Thompson failing as he lied about an easily verifiable fact and was caught. Anyone can lie but CEOs have to lie well; Thompson failed at that.

  • CEOs are judged by a different set of standards then the grunts are. In that we expect the average preson to be responsible, truthful, and generally a decent guy.

    On the other hand CEOs have carte blanche to be lying cheating backstabbing assholes, up to and including destroying the company (or the economy) and getting a golden handshake for their trouble.

    It's an interesting standard.

  • Scott Thompson does not really have a CS degree [allthingsd.com]? Elizabeth Warren is not really a Native American? [hotair.com]

    If this trend in falsifying credentials continues, how long before the revelations that Rich Kyanka [wikipedia.org] did not really attend Turtle Mountain Community College?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Try not to link to hate sites run by psychos. If you can't find a better source than Hot Air, it's not true.

    • by KlomDark (6370)

      Next they will find out that I don't actually have that GED in CS that I put on my resume.

      Dammit, it worked when I got that job at PayPal while Scott was there...

      Now what I am I gonna do? Any ideas?

  • by Tanman (90298) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:04PM (#39944261)

    If I had to guess, the board is checking to see if they can nullify the contract due to fraud before firing the guy. But that's just my guess.

  • by OldGunner (2576825) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:04PM (#39944271)
    I used to list University of South Vietnam, School of Combat Operations on my resume.
  • FTFA: "Hart, CEO of International Game Technology, a gaming machine manufacturer, told the Yahoo board that the board asked her to step down from her seat." She is CEO of IGT, and the IGT board of directors are the ones that asked her to resign from Yahoo because it is a huge distraction [yahoo.com].

    //Full disclosure: I work at IGT
  • by jdavidb (449077)

    It just sends out the message that it's cool to pretend to have qualifications that you don't have.

    Suppose some people think it is cool to do this, and you don't. I suppose that they should be able to express their opinion, and you should be able to express your opinion. Some people think those qualifications are worthless or not "cool," and I think they should be able to express that feeling as well.

    And I'd like to send the message that Yahoo should be allowed to do whatever it wants internally, and anyone who doesn't like it can just not use Yahoo, or buy a piece of it and try to change it.

  • I don't see why people are getting so upset because he *may* keep his job and lied about his qualifications. The lie is relatively minor really. I know someone is probably crying because they had to pay the money for the thing he's claiming for free. But just remember the amount of hours of hard work and possibly even over time someone had to do to gain X years of experience and you're effectively taking that away from them by exaggerating on your CV.

    but then again who cares. If a person does a job well
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @02:07PM (#39944345)

    Stories are that Patti Hart also falsified her educational credentials too:
    bloomberg.com [bloomberg.com] - Questioning Hart's Background

    "Loeb said that Patti Hart, a Yahoo board member who chairs the search committee, inflated her degree too. Hart, who also serves as CEO of International Game Technology (IGT), is listed in filings as holding a “bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics” from Illinois State University, Loeb said. “However, we understand that Ms. Hart’s degree is in business administration. She received a degree in neither marketing nor economics.” "

  • by tekrat (242117)

    Computer Science. Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.

    If ever there was a model for how the 1% differ from the 99%, this is it. This jackass can LIE on his resume to become CEO of a major corporation, and you bet he's getting paid more per month than I make in a year. Furthermore, even when he's "let go", he'll walk away with the GDP of small nations. Enough to live comfortably for the rest of his days. FOR LYING.

    The rest of us would be tossed out on the street, with a warning that we're

    • by a90Tj2P7 (1533853)

      Computer Science. Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play.

      If ever there was a model for how the 1% differ from the 99%, this is it. This jackass can LIE on his resume to become CEO of a major corporation, and you bet he's getting paid more per month than I make in a year. Furthermore, even when he's "let go", he'll walk away with the GDP of small nations. Enough to live comfortably for the rest of his days. FOR LYING.

      The rest of us would be tossed out on the street, with a warning that we're lucky we're not in jail.

      Seriously, what a fucked up world we are living in.

      The one little hole in this is that you're acting like a CS degree from the 70's was the reason he got the job. Odds are, no one involved in the hiring process thought it was important enough to look into or consider. He has the job because of his experience and work history, now what he went to school for before I (and likely you) were born. You don't become the CEO of a company like Yahoo by replying to a Monster posting and giving a couple references, you do it by being able to show decades of work histo

  • by loshwomp (468955)

    don't you think it's kind of weird that the guy who lied gets to keep his job as CEO, yet this director is being made a scapegoat?

    Yes. If it's not serious enough to take action against the CEO, then taking action against the person who hired him is nuts.

  • The "scapegoats" job was to check the damn CV. He screwed up and clearly didn't bother doing his job. That'll get you sacked in most jobs.

    Of course the CEO should go to, then again he's demonstrated he can deceive people which is probably a useful skill for getting investors to overvalue the company,

  • It was someone's job to validate the resume. That person didn't do the job properly. So that person loses their job. That makes perfect sense.

    As for the person having been hired with a false resume, that person may still be a good candidate. Could be the right person for the job.

    The first person, having done the hiring, didn't make the mistake of hiring the wrong person. Made the mistake of not knowing what was being hired.

    Why do I sound as though english isn't my first language? It's been a stressful

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