NEW YORK — Yahoo swept out Scott Thompson as CEO Sunday in an effort to clean up a mess created by an exaggeration about his education that destroyed his credibility as he set out to turn around the long-troubled Internet company.
Ross Levinsohn, who oversees Yahoo's content and advertising services, is taking over as interim CEO. He becomes the fourth person to run Yahoo in eight months.
Yahoo hired Thompson, the former head of eBay's PayPal, in January to orchestrate a reversal. Though Yahoo is one of the Internet's most-visited websites, the company has struggled to grow in face of competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. The company's difficulties have irked investors. Thompson took the helm as Yahoo's fourth chief executive in less than five years.
Yahoo Inc. gave no official explanation for Thompson's departure, but it was clearly tied to inaccuracies that appeared on Thompson's biography on the company's website and in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The bio listed two degrees — in accounting and computer science — from Stonehill College, a small school near Boston. But hedge fund Third Point and its aggressive chief Daniel Loeb discovered Thompson never received a computer science degree from the college and exposed the fabrication in a May 3 letter to Yahoo's board. The resume claim had periodically appeared on his bio in the years while he was running PayPal.
Yahoo initially stood behind Thompson, brushing off the bogus degree as an "inadvertent error," but harsh criticism from employees, shareholders and corporate governance experts prompted the board to investigate how the fabrication occurred.