Risk & Compliance

CEO Not a College Grad, R.H. Donnelley Says

Publisher R.H. Donnelley says two past press releases incorrectly described chief executive officer David C. Swanson as a college graduate.
Stephen TaubSeptember 11, 2006

R.H. Donnelley confirmed that two press releases regarding the background of chief executive officer David C. Swanson incorrectly described Swanson’s education.

The publisher of the yellow pages said Swanson did attend St. Cloud State University, from 1973 to 1976, but he did not earn a degree.

The company explained that the issue arose last week when it received an anonymous letter questioning Swanson’s educational background.

Donnelley added it has identified two press releases it had issued, one in 1999 and the other in 2002, which stated Swanson earned a degree from St. Cloud. In addition, the company discovered that a biographical paragraph of Swanson’s on its Web site prior to 2003 also included the same information.

The company stressed that this error has never appeared in any document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission or the New York Stock Exchange.

“This is a regrettable situation for which I accept full responsibility,” Swanson said in a statement. “I will work closely with R. H. Donnelley’s Board and members of the management team to ensure that we have proper internal and external controls on information dissemination so that this inaccurate information does not appear again.”

The company said the Board of Directors has accepted Swanson’s statement and supports the company’s efforts to clarify the information.

Donnelley said it is also conducting a thorough search to identify and correct any other instances where this error may have occurred.

The company also said the Board of Directors has reviewed internal documents, including Swanson’s original employment application from 21 years ago, which accurately states that he attended but did not graduate from St. Cloud State University.

The Swanson error evokes memories of prior cases when a top executive’s resume was subsequently found to be incorrect.

Back in February David Edmondson resigned as president and CEO and as a director of Radio Shack amid questions raised about the accuracy of his resume.

“Dave recognized that major distractions for the company could negatively impact its efforts to implement the company’s turnaround strategy,” said Executive Chairman Leonard Roberts in a statement at the time.

“One of the most important things we have as a corporation is integrity and trust and we know we have to restore that back to the public,” Roberts told the Associated Press at the time.

And, back in 2002, Kenneth Lonchar resigned as chief financial officer of Veritas Software Corp. after the company discovered that he had lied about getting an MBA from Stanford.