Groupon’s CEO gets a bum deal. (He just got canned.)


Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, under whose watch, a Google buy-out was rejected, has been fired. This follows yet another quarter of losses suffered by the group buy site. Groupon, whose value has now dropped frighteningly below even Google’s original offer, has tried to reverse the downward trend the business has been on by giving consumers more than just their daily deals offers. The company was at one point, one of the biggest internet IPOs in existence, saw their bubble burst when competition and faltering consumer interest started drop growth. Mason seems to have taken the curve ball well, keeping his chin up in a statement that praised the company’s growth during its heyday, taking responsibility for the drop, and wishing everyone in the company the best, and likening the experience to the game Battletoads.

Groupon has maintained that they will be focused on growth, even as they search for a new CEO to take the reins and hopefully turn the arrow back upward.  This may be easier said than done, as Groupon stock closed Thursday at USD 4.53, from USD 20 in November 2011; a solid 77 percent drop. They also posted a quarterly loss of  USD 81 million at the close of 2012, and a deficit of USD 67 million last year. As of the moment, the future looks a bit bleak for the online commerce site, causing some people to view the whole thing as a replay of the dot com crash of the late ’90s-200s.

Mason’s letter follows:

People of Groupon,

After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.

You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company – it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.

For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.

If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!

I will miss you terribly.





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