Yahoo! announced Sunday that Ross Levinsohn will temporarily replace chief executive Scott Thompson, who has stepped down in the face of controversy about his allegedly inflated resume.
The California-based company, in a compromise with activist investor Daniel Loeb, said Fred Amoroso would take charge of the board of directors as the struggling Internet pioneer seeks its sixth new chief in as many years.
“Yahoo! has been struggling over recent years and this new incident only makes matters worse for the company,” said technology industry analyst Jeff Kagan.
“Yahoo! rode the wave up during the last decade, but during the last several years has crossed over the top and has been heading down the other side.”
The changes are part of a settlement with Loeb’s hedge fund Third Point, which is waging a proxy battle at the Sunnyvale, California-based firm.
Under the terms of the truce, Loeb and two of his picks — Harry Wilson and Michael Wolf — will take seats on the Yahoo! board Wednesday.
Five current board members, including director Roy Bostock and Patti Hart, will step down immediately and not end their terms at this year’s annual shareholders meeting as originally planned, according to Yahoo!
“The board is pleased to announce these changes and the settlement with Third Point, and is confident that they will serve the best interests of our shareholders,” Amoroso said in a statement.
Mr Thompson’s departure comes less than five months after he was hired to inject a new sense of urgency into the group as it struggles to compete with Facebook and Google in online advertising.
According to the Financial Times, the Yahoo chief executive became the centre of a sudden storm after Third Point checked up on his credentials and discovered that he only had a degree in accounting, not the joint degree in accounting and computer science that had been claimed.
Pressure on the chief executive mounted after Yahoo had at first tried to brush off the inaccuracy in his résumé, calling it an “inadvertent error”, before reversing course only hours later to say that its board was looking into the matter.