Yahoo CEO Not Alone: 7 Execs Busted for Resume Lies
CREDIT: Pinocchio image via Shutterstock
After just four months on the job, Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson is out of work this week after it was discovered he had lied on his resume.
While his resume boasts 1978 degrees in both accountingand computer science from Massachusetts' Stonehill College, Thompson has since admitted he never earned the latter.
He tried to blame the error on a headhunting firm that he worked with nearly a decade ago. After the firm provided Yahoo with proof that his resume had been submitted to the company with the embellishments already in place, Thompson was left with little choice but to resign his post.
But Thompson's not alone. Numerous others in high-profile positions have lost their jobs, and sometimes more, because of resume transgressions – but not all of the lies have been total career death sentences.
Here are seven examples:
Pants on fire
In 2002, Kenneth E. Lonchar lost his lofty position of chief financial officer at Veritas Software for lying about his educational background. Lonchar resigned his position after an internal investigation by the California-based company uncovered that he had did not hold an MBA from Stanford University or an accounting degree from Arizona State University as he had asserted.
According to reports, the company launched its internal investigation of Lonchar, who had been with Veritas, which has since merged with Symantec, for seven years, after being tipped off by an email from an unnamed source.
"Under the circumstances, I believe my resignation is in the best interests of both the company and myself," Lonchar said in a written statement.
Foot(ball) in mouth
George O'Leary spent just five days on the job as head football at Notre Dame University in 2001 before he was forced to resign after lying on his resume about both his educational and athletic backgrounds.
O'Leary's resume missteps included claiming he had received a master's degree from New York University and earned three varsity letters while attending the University in New Hampshire. While the former Georgia Tech football coach had been a student at NYU, he never earned his degree, and he never played in any games or received any letters at New Hampshire.
O'Leary said he misrepresented himself early in his career in an effort to land a job.
"These misstatements were never stricken from my resume or biographical sketch in later years." O'Leary said in a statement. "Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans."
The resignation has not been a career death sentence, however. O'Leary spent two seasons as an assistant coach in the NFL after his short tenure at Notre Dame and has been the head coach at the University of Central Florida since 2004.
As seen on tv
Lying on his resume cost one New Zealand executive much more than just his job. John Davy, chief executive of the Maori Television Service, was sentenced to eight months in jail after admitting to fabricating a number of points on his resume, including past work for BC Securities Commission in Canada, his MBA from a school that didn't exist and two books he supposedly authored. Davy was fired from his position after just seven weeks on the job.
During his sentencing, the judge said the enormity of Davy's deceit showed there was a clear need to send a message to others who might be tempted to apply for senior positions, the New Zealand Herald reported.
Going for the gold
The former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee, Sandra Baldwin resigned from her position in 2002 after admitting to lying about her past college degrees.
Baldwin's resume included an educational background with an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and a 1967 doctorate from Arizona State. In reality, Baldwin received her undergraduate degree from ASU and never earned any degrees from Colorado.
Similarly to O'Leary, Baldwin said the resume flub, which was discovered by a reporter for the University of Colorado alumni magazine, was one she made early in her career.
"I should have changed it a long time ago, but once it was published, it got paralyzing," she said at the time. "Now I'm going to have to live with it for the rest of my life."
Third time's the charm
After nearly a yearlong investigation, Laura Callahan resigned from her position as a senior director with the Homeland Security Department's Chief Information Office in 2004 after it was discovered her resume featured three degrees from Wyoming diploma mill Hamilton University.
Reports indicate Callahan's paid-for degrees came to light after a Washington magazine was tipped off by one of her employees, who became skeptical of her qualifications and was aware of Hamilton University's reputation.
Callahan's transgressions have not exiled her from Washington altogether. Last summer, the Obama administration announced it was hiring Callahan for a senior-level role in the newly created U.S. Cyber Command, tasked with protecting the Pentagon from cyberattacks.
Next time, proof read it
Lying on his resume cost Bausch & Lomb CEO Ronald Zarrella more than a sizable chunk of change, but not his job.
In 2002, Zarrella was forced to forgo a $1.1 million bonus after it was revealed he did not have an MBA from New York University, as his official company biography had stated. While he had been a student at NYU, Zarrella never graduated.
''I'm embarrassed that some of this incorrect information appeared in some of our published materials on my background,'' Zarrella said in a statement at the time. ''Clearly it's my obligation to proofread such things carefully and ensure their accuracy.''
While Zarrella offered to resign over the incident, company officials declined to accept. He remained in his role for another six years before retiring in 2008.
A royal disaster
Celebrity chef Robert Irvine lost his television show on the Food Network in 2008 after embellishments were discovered regarding past work he had done with Britain's royal family and for the White House.
Following accusations of nonpayment by his Web consultant and a breach of contract with an interior designer, the St. Petersburg Times conducted an exposéthat uncovered Irvine's exaggerations, which included claims that he created Princess Diana's wedding cake, cooked for White House dinners and was knighted by the queen – all of which were proven false.
”I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences in the White House and the Royal Family," Irvine said in a statement at the time. "I am truly sorry for misleading people and misstating the facts."
Irvine was only off the Food Network for a short time. In 2009, his popular "Dinner: Impossible" show returned to the network's lineup, and he's since gone on to work on a number of Food Network shows, including "Restaurant: Impossible," "Worst Cooks in America," "Iron Chef America" and "The Next Iron Chef."
This story was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.
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