MICHAEL J DE LA MERCED & EVELYN M RUSLI
Yahoos embattled chief executive,Scott Thompson,plans to leave his post after a controversy over his embellished academic credentials embroiled the Web company,people briefed on the matter told New York Times on Sunday.
Thompsons departure could be announced as soon as Monday. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Ross Levinsohn,the companys global head of media.
Yahoo is also near a deal with Third Points Daniel S Loeb to end the hedge fund managers proxy fight,these people said. Under the outlines of a proposed settlement,the activist hedge fund manager and two of his director nominees,Michael J Wolf and Harry Wilson,will be seated on the board. A fourth candidate,former NBC head Jeff Zucker,will withdraw his nomination.
The board has notified Loeb of its intention to approve such a deal,some of these people said.
A Yahoo spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.
The departure of Thompson after four months on the job is a stunning blow to Yahoo,a Web pioneer that has struggled to turn itself around after years of faltering performance. Thompson,a former eBay executive,was meant to help lead the revitalization effort.
But Third Point shattered his credibility earlier this month when the hedge fund pointed out that Thompsons biography stated that he held both accounting and computer science degrees from Stonehill College. Yahoo later conceded that he had earned only the former,and that the erroneous information had been included in regulatory filings.
Turmoil quickly ensued. Patti S Hart,the director who led the CEO search that culminated with Thompsons hiring,announced that she would not seek re-election. Hart was also revealed to have misstated her academic credentials,having earned a degree in business administration instead of marketing and economics.
Third Point quickly pounced,calling for an investigation into Thompsons hiring and demanding his ouster.
Last week,Yahoo disclosed that it had formed a special board committee to look into how Thompsons erroneous information made it through the vetting process and was included in the companys regulatory filings.