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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thanks to former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, Honesty Counts

A mere four months after Scott Thompson became the Yahoo CEO, he was given the boot. The reason? His resume states that he has a degree in marketing and computer science. The marketing part was right.  The computer science part was not.

Yahoo has been going through their fair share of company problems and their stock prices have been plummeting for four years. According to the Associated Press, the company botched an opportunity to sell to Microsoft at $33 per share in May of 2008 or $47.5 billion. Since September of 2008, the company's stock prices haven't gone above $20. Monday, Yahoo stock closed at $15.50 — which means that the company now has a market value of $19 billion.

Full disclosure: I borrowed this image from this blog about Stephen King's encouragement to be honest, in his book On Writing.
Whether you follow the stock market or not, you know that honesty is the best policy. If there's one person who isn't honest at the top of a company, the time of reckoning isn't a question of if, but when. Someone, somewhere with a bit of guts and a thirst for truth will pinpoint the unethical practices of a company's leader(s) — no matter how seemingly insignificant, and the results will be similar to what happened to Scott Thompson.

You could point to the wacky hedge fund manager who wanted to be on the board so badly that he exposed the inaccuracy on Scott Thompson's resume, the directionless board of trustees who OK any big changes in the company, or the seemingly unstoppable progress of Google's world domination for the decline in Yahoo's market share. But, the fact remains that the company has gone through four CEO's in five years. When a company doesn't have a strong leader and makes too many hasty decisions, they're bound to fail. Add to that the complication of dishonesty and the company becomes a ticking time bomb.

Honesty may not always be popular, but you'll sleep better and you'll likely not lose your job for it.

More reading on this story here and here.


  1. Love this. Honesty is ALWAYS the way to go.

  2. If you do lose your job for it, you wouldn't want to be working for those people anyway...

  3. Bad leadership is a virus. Sounds familiar.


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