10 High-Profile People Who Lost Their Jobs for Lying on Their Resumes
Yahoo’s CEO Scott Thompson is under fire for perceived embellishments he listed on his resume that has several Yahoo investors calling for his ouster. Thompson reportedly listed a computer science degree on his resume that he didn’t earn. He graduated from Stonehill College with a degree in accounting. Since the revelation broke last week, Thompson has been able to hold onto his position, and Yahoo has updated his online biography to scrub the computer science reference completely. Several politicians and government workers, including Vice President Joe Biden, have been scrutinized for resume padding.
If Thompson does get the boot, he’ll join a list of high-profile people who have seen their careers go down the tubes thanks to some fibbing on their resumes. Here’s a look at 10 of the most famous:
Does God Like Liars?
Dave Edmondson resigned in 2006 after lies on his resume came to light. He said he had received degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California. “At this time, the board and I have agreed that it is in the best interest of the company for new leadership to step forward so that our turnaround plan has the best possible chance to succeed, as I know it will,” he said. During his tenure, Edmondson received credit for helping to turn around the company. He is now the founder and CEO of E-Recycling Corps.
Software maker Lotus Development saw its CEO Jeff Papows step down in February 2000 after some shadiness surrounded his educational background and military service, among other indiscretions including labeling himself an orphan when in fact it was found that his parents were alive and well. “I have come to this decision after a great deal of very difficult reflection about where Lotus is right now and about my own future,” Papows said. Papows had also been hit with a sexual discrimination lawsuit the previous year.
The president of the U.S. Olympic Committee resigned in 2002 after she lied about her education. Sandra Baldwin admitted she never graduated from Arizona State where she said she received a master’s degree. “I accept full responsibility for the mistakes I have made,” Baldwin said. Baldwin led the U.S. delegation at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and had been promoted leading up to the following games.
Poet Gets “slammed”
California’s first official poet laureate, Quincy Troupe, resigned after just four months in 2002 after word got out that he hadn’t graduated from college. “I deeply regret my ill-advised decision to include inaccurate information on my curriculum vitae,” Troupe said. “While I attended Grambling College, I never earned a college degree.” In 2006, Troupe won major acclaim for his book ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’
Different Degrees of Lying
Even one of the best schools in the country isn’t free from scandal. Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions, resigned in 2007 after acknowledging she “misrepresented her academic degrees to the institute.” Among the degree Jones alleged to have were from Albany Medical College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Union College , but an investigation showed she had received none of them. She had previous earned the “MIT Excellence Award for Leading Change,” among other awards.
Just Make Up Your MBA
Kenneth Lonchar resigned as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Veritas Software Corp. in 2002 after allegations that he made up an MBA from Stanford. “Under the circumstances, I believe my resignation is in the best interests of both the company and myself,” Lonchar said. Veritas (which means truth in Latin) executives insisted that the resignation should not be perceived as representing any inaccuracies in the work Lonchar did while employed with the company. The company’s stock dropped 15 percent after the news surfaced.
One Lie For the Gipper
In 2001, George O’Leary resigned as Notre Dame football coach just days after his hiring after he admitted to lying about a master’s degree in education and a claim that he had played college football for several years. An investigation revealed that O’Leary had made those things up. “Due to a selfish and thoughtless act many years ago, I have personally embarrassed Notre Dame, its alumni and fans,” O’Leary said. Today, O’Leary is the head coach at University of Central Florida, a far cry from Notre Dame, but still a sign that he was able to salvage his career after the scandal.
No Rhodes Scholar
Ten years later, it was Tom Williams’s turn to step down after Yale questioned whether Williams had actually been a candidate for a Rhodes scholarship while a student at Stanford, as his resume stated. It came to light only after the Bulldogs’ quarterback Patrick Witt was weighing between a Rhodes interview or playing against rival Harvard. While so much attention was on the Yale program, the Rhodes Trust revealed they had no records of Williams applying for the fellowship. “I considered the opportunity, sought advice and was encouraged to apply by faculty members and my coach, Bill Walsh, but I did not apply,” he said as he stepped down from his position.
The Few, The Proud, the Liar
Alexander Kemos sounded too good to be true, a former Navy SEAL with a doctorate from Tufts University. And it turned out that was the case in 2010 when the top adviser to Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin stepped down when the truth came out. Kemos’s lies actually violated the federal Stolen Valor Act, which prohibits false claim of military decorations or honors. He avoided jail time with a plea later that year.
Robert Irvine’s Food Network show, ‘Dinner: Impossible,’ got a new host Michael Symon in 2008 after Irvine was found to have “embellishments and inaccuracies” in Irvine’s resume. Irvine admitted to misrepresenting his educational background, his relationship with the British royal family, and his duties at the White House. “I was wrong to exaggerate in statements related to my experiences regarding the royal family… I should have stood on those accomplishments alone, without embellishment,” he stated.