We just found a hilariously sad example of how Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s fake computer-science degree spread around the world.
eBay’s Singapore site still lists Thompson in his previous job as president of its PayPal subsidiary. And it says he has a degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College — the untrue academic credential that’s gotten him in so much trouble.
Thompson is explaining an incorrect bio which falsely claimed he had a computer-science degree as a mistake that dates back to his hiring at eBay as PayPal’s chief technology officer.
That error — which Thompson basically pinned on staffers at Heidrick & Struggles, the executive-recruiting firm that got him the job at PayPal in the first place — spread far and wide, from the website of a conference where Thompson spoke to a database entry about a company where Thompson is a board member to an AP report carried on — you guessed it — Yahoo News.
By the time Thompson became president of PayPal and hence a big enough deal to make it into eBay’s corporate filings with the Securities & Exchange Commission, someone at eBay had caught the error and made sure his degree was listed correctly.
Why didn’t anyone crosscheck that bio against the one that was posted on eBay’s own websites?
eBay CEO John Donahoe, who recently declared himself “Scott’s biggest fan,” basically pinned it on eBay PR, telling an audience in Tokyo that “our legal filings were taken care of by our legal department” and that it was just “PR materials” that had the fake degree listed.
Something about that explanation stinks — and not just the way Donahoe basically tossed his PR department under the bus for the bio mess.
Sure, eBay’s a big corporation. But in my experience, it’s tightly run and detail-oriented. And the PR teams and legal teams talk to each other.
According to the Wayback Machine, Thompson’s bio mistake appeared on eBay’s Singaporean website in 2008.
It’s still there today.
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