Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

CEO Says Sorry to Yahoos for Borked Bio “Distraction” — But Will Mea Culpa Work Without an Apology for Error? (Memo)

He’s sorry. Deeply regrets. Apologizes. Takes full responsibility for the unfortunate distraction to the people.

No, it’s not a scandal-ridden politician caught in some compromising position, but Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson talking about the hubbub created by the addition of a fake computer science degree on his bio.

This kind of move is, of course, PR 101, but it still took Yahoo several days after activist shareholder Daniel Loeb uncovered the resume problem, which the Silicon Valley Internet giant said was an “inadvertent error.”

In his new memo, which comes after a terse one on Friday, Thompson said he was upset by how the controversy has impacted the company.

“As I told you on Friday, the board is reviewing the issue and I will provide whatever they need from me. In the meantime, I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you,” he wrote. “We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you.”

It is interesting to note that he said nothing in the new email about being actually sorry for the still-mysterious inaccuracy in his bio.

It was present since 2004 when he worked at eBay and also somehow got into the Yahoo regulatory filings after he was hired earlier this year.

Presumably, that information is to come after an investigation by Yahoo’s board, headed by independent director Fred Amoroso, which is proceeding now.

It will be announced officially tomorrow, but it is already in the works, as Thompson noted.

Earlier today, Loeb demanded all books and records about the circumstances of Thompson’s hiring and has made hay out of the issue.

To calm the story, said Thompson to his new troops: “I am hopeful that this matter will be concluded promptly.”

Unfortunately for him, that hope is probably also going to turn out to be inaccurate.

But read it for yourself. Here’s the internal memo that just went out to all Yahoo employees from beleaguered Thompson, which I obtained from the company.

Yahoos:

I wanted to share some additional thoughts with you related to the disclosure of my academic credentials.

As I told you on Friday, the board is reviewing the issue and I will provide whatever they need from me. In the meantime, I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you. We have all been working very hard to move the company forward, and this has had the opposite effect. For that, I take full responsibility, and I want to apologize to you.

In my note Friday, I said I would be focused on continuing to do what needs to get done. That’s because I feel I owe it to all of you to make sure that nothing disrupts the progress we’ve made in just a few short months due to all of your focus, commitment, and hard work. As you’ve heard me say many times, we have a tremendous business with incredible assets, and we can win by putting our customers first. The progress I shared with you in the first quarter should make clear that we intend to move fast and deliver on the potential of the business for our customers, shareholders, and all of you.

I know the board plans to conduct the review thoroughly and independently, and I respect that process. I am hopeful that this matter will be concluded promptly. But, in the meantime, we have a lot of work to do. We need to continue to act as one team to fulfill the potential of this great company and keep moving forward. You have my word that all my energy and attention will be on that mission.

Scott

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle