On May 13, Yahoo’s board announced that it had parted ways with CEO Scott Thompson.
In an announcement, Thompson said he was leaving Yahoo due to his health, but everyone knew the real reason.
During the course of a proxy war with one of Yahoo’s biggest shareholders, it was revealed that Thompson had, at some point in his career, misled people about his educational background. He said he had a computer science degree that he did not have. He allowed this fact to remain on his official bio for years – through a tenure at PayPal and into his time with Yahoo.
It was the kind of setback that you might think would be a death-blow to a once-promising career.
But today, Thompson already has a job. He’s the CEO of ShopRunner, an independent competitor to Amazon Prime.
ShopRunner is part of a collection of e-commerce companies owned by a larger firm called Kynetic. Kynetic is the parent company of two e-commerce companies besides ShopRunner. There’s Fanatic, which sells licensed sports merchandise and will do about $850 million in revenues this year. And there’s Rue La La, a private sales site with revenues approaching $500 million.
We just spent a few minutes with the CEO of Kynetic, Michael Rubin. The first question we asked was about Thompson.
Business Insider: Many people are described Scott Thompson as “disgraced” former CEO of Yahoo. Why would you hire him?
Michael Rubin: I could not have been more confident in hiring Scott.
We had always thought about who was the right long-term CEO of ShopRunner and Scott was always my first pick.
When he was running PayPal, I talked to him about ShopRunner and I wanted to get him to run the business. He went to Yahoo, and I told him I thought he was nuts and he should come run ShopRunner. When everything happened at Yahoo I told him he should come run ShopRunner.
I have known Scott for five or seven years. I know him to be a person that has high integrity who I have tremendous respect for.
After we made the announcement [ShopRunner] merchants reached out to me and said “this is amazing, this is great for ShopRunner. I can’t wait to work with Scott again. I loved working with him at PayPal.”
Financial investors reached out us to and said “my God is there opportunities to invest in ShopRunner.”
People really believe in Scott, so I didn’t really care what happened at Yahoo. I knew him for a long time and he was the right person for the business.
Business Insider: You must have gotten a pretty good discount on an executive who was, only months before, talented enough to get a job running a huge company like Yahoo.
Michael Rubin: Yeah you know its funny. People have said that to me before but truth be told, we were very aggressive in what we did to recruit Scott. We didn’t look to take advantage of the previous situation. We knew he was the right guy to run ShopRunner long term.
Everyone around us is incredibly thrilled. The employees were so excited to see him join. [Potential ShopRunner partners told us] if you get Scott we want to join. This is a guy who has got a cult-like following with in the retail/merchant network. He spent a lot of time with these big merchants at PayPal.
So, when I look at what we are looking to do there couldn’t be someone better suited to run this business than Scott.