Accounting News Roundup: Thompson Out at Yahoo; Francesca CFO Fired for Social Media Use; Facebook Execs’ Tax Planning | 05.14.12

Thompson Resigns as CEO of Yahoo [WSJ]
Scott Thompson, whom Yahoo hired as CEO in January, agreed to resign over the weekend after the company's board obtained evidence that contradicted his claim of innocence about his misstated academic record, people familiar with the matter said. In particular, an executive-search firm provided Yahoo with information that appeared to show Mr. Thompson years ago had knowingly claimed to have a computer-science degree that he, in fact, didn't have. Yahoo said it named Ross Levinsohn, the executive in charge of its media websites, as interim CEO. Mr. Levinsohn's appointment could be made permanent, one person said.

Ex-Yahoo Chief Told Board He Has Cancer [WSJ]
Before resigning as chief executive of Yahoo Inc. over the weekend, Scott Thompson disclosed to the company's board of directors and several colleagues that he has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, according to people familiar with the matter. The cancer disclosure by the 54-year-old Mr. Thompson was made late last week, as evidence emerged that appeared to contradict the CEO's assertions that he wasn't responsible for an error in his academic record, one of these people said. 

Francesca's fires CFO over social media activity [Reuters]
Women's specialty retailer Francesca's Holdings Corp said it fired its chief financial officer Gene Morphis after an internal probe found that he had improperly communicated company information through social media. Francesca's board launched an investigation with the assistance of outside counsel after it discovered the activity on May 11, 2012, the company said, without providing additional details. "We acted immediately on Friday afternoon when we first became aware of the matter and have moved swiftly to replace Morphis based on the findings of the investigation," the company said in a statement.

Transatlantic Divide Grows Over Audit Rotation [CFO]

Stephen Chipman, CEO of Grant Thornton, says there are different debates going on about mandatory rotation on opposite sides of the Atlantic. One one hand, the Europeans are focused on the question of whether there may be too much market concentration of the Big Four accounting firms. They believe mandatory rotation could help to break that up, he says. Meanwhile, in the United States advocates are focused on preventing auditors from getting too cozy with their corporate clients. That geographical divide is creating some interesting alternatives to the mandatory rotation concept. Retendering, or the process of putting out the audit function for tender every seven years, is gaining transaction in Europe. Under such a regime, a corporation could have the option to keep the incumbent auditor. Another version, called “mandatory retendering with comply or explain,” enables a company to either tender and comply with the requirement or explain why that would not be the best move. “If you don’t think it’s necessary for valid reasons to retender, you can explain through communication to stockholders and retain your existing auditor. That’s gathering momentum in Europe,” says Chipman.

How Facebook's Elite Skirt Estate Tax [WSJ]
FYI.

125 people of impact in accounting [JofA]
Kicking off with Arthur Andersen.

 

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