The news broke early this morning, Sydney time, Sunday night in the USA.
Yahoo was expected to say he is leaving for “personal reasons” or due to an illness, according to All Things D. A former PayPal president and chief technology officer, Thompson had been at Yahoo only since January, replacing Carol Bartz who had been fired after three years in the job.
His likely replacement on an interim basis will be Yahoo’s global media head Ross Levinsohn, a former News Group executive.
In addition to the management upheaval, Yahoo’s board is said to be closing in on a settlement with the man who has been pursuing Thompson over the matter: activist shareholder Daniel Loeb of hedge fund Third Point.
All Things D calls it a stunning victory for Loeb, who is set to get three board seats from a slate proposed by him as part of a proxy fight aimed at Yahoo.
Five current Yahoo directors – who were to step down at the annual meeting later this year- will leave the board immediately, sources told All Things D, to make way for the Third Point selections.
Yahoo’s Fred Amoroso – the director who has been conducting the investigation into how the fake degree got into Thompson’s public bios, as well as in Yahoo’s regulatory filings – is expected to be named chairman of the board.
Late last week Thompson had blamed a headhunting firm, Heidrick and Struggles, for introducing the mistake when he was being hired for a job at eBay in the mid-2000 timeframe. But Heidrick and Struggles has refuted that, saying that Thompson’s claim was “verifiably not true.”
Heidrick is said to have told Yahoo’s board that it is holding a resumÃ© that Thompson had submitted, showing the inaccurate computer science degree on it.
One of Thompson’s biggest problems in explaining away the wrong degree credential was that the college where he was said to have obtained the degree only began offering the course severral years after he had left.
The latest drama comes amid a massive restructuring Thompson had ordered at Yahoo, after laying off some 2000 employees.