By Poornima Gupta
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Third Point on Thursday accused Yahoo Inc's new chief executive, Scott Thompson, of padding his educational record, and Yahoo called the discrepancy an "inadvertent error."
Thompson claims to hold a bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College near Boston but he "embellished his academic credentials," as the CEO's degree is in accounting only, Third Point's founder and chief executive, Dan Loeb, wrote in a letter to Yahoo's board on Thursday.
"Stonehill College informed us that it did not begin awarding computer science degrees until 1983 - four years after Mr. Thompson graduated," Loeb said. Third Point is a large Yahoo investor that has publicly battled the Internet company's board in the past.
A Yahoo spokesman called the discrepancy an "inadvertent error."
"Scott Thompson received a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Stonehill college," the spokesman said in an emailed statement. "There was an inadvertent error that stated Mr. Thompson also holds a degree in computer science."
Yahoo reiterated its confidence in its CEO, saying he is a "highly qualified executive with a successful track record leading large consumer technology companies."
The letter represents the latest salvo from Third Point, whose 5.8 percent stake in Yahoo ranks it among the company's largest institutional shareholders. Third Point has sharply criticized Yahoo's performance and strategy in the past.
Yahoo, whose revenue slid by more than a fifth last year, brought in Thompson, PayPal's former president, as chief executive in January, five months after Carol Bartz was fired.
Loeb also accused board member Patti Hart, who chaired the CEO search committee, of embellishing her educational record.
Various corporate filings state that Hart holds a bachelor's degree in marketing and economics from Illinois State University but her degree is in business administration, Loeb said.
A Yahoo spokesman responded: "We can confirm that Patti Hart holds a bachelor of science degree in business administration with specialties in marketing and economics from Illinois State University."
(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; editing by Matthew Lewis)