Groupon Fires CEO Andrew Mason

Groupon has fired CEO Andrew Mason.  The company is currently looking for a new CEO.  Executive chairman Eric Lefkofsky and vice chairman Ted Leonsis are going to be filling in during the interim.  Mason was even speculating that the board would fire him back in November 2012.  The problem Groupon is having as a public company is that they lost a fifth of their value since going public and they have been reporting consecutive quarterly losses.

In Q4 2012, the company reported $81.1 million in losses, which is larger than the $65.4 million loss in the previous year.  “On behalf of the entire Groupon board, I want to thank Andrew for his leadership, his creativity and his deep loyalty to Groupon. As a founder, Andrew helped invent the daily deals space, leading Groupon to become one of the fastest growing companies in history,” stated Lefkofsky.  

“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,” joked Mason in his farewell letter. “Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why … you haven’t been paying attention.”  Below is the full letter:

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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