Struggling Groupon ousts chief exec Mason
By Barbara Ortutay ,APNEW YORK -- Struggling online deals pioneer Groupon has ousted its quirky founder and CEO Andrew Mason amid worries that people are tiring of the myriad online restaurant, spa and Botox deals that Groupon built its business on.
March 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
Shares jumped following Thursday's announcement, which had been anticipated for months. Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis were appointed to the Office of the Chief Executive while a replacement is found.
“I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding — I was fired today,” Mason, 32, wrote in a memo to staff. “If you're wondering why. you haven't been paying attention.”
He referred to controversial metrics used in its regulatory filings ahead of Groupon Inc.'s November 2011 initial public offering of stock as well as “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,” he wrote. “As CEO, I am accountable.”
The announcement came one day after Groupon reported a bigger-than-expected loss and gave a weak revenue outlook for the current quarter. The guidance had fueled investor worry — which started even before Groupon's IPO — that people are suffering from fatigue over the frequent emails flooding subscribers' inboxes. There were also worries that the company's efforts to broaden into an e-commerce powerhouse haven't been paying off.
Groupon said Mason was not available for interviews.
His ouster has been “fairly widely expected” given the company's performance, said Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg. Mason was CEO, after all, “and as the expression goes 'the buck stops there,'” he added.
“The question is whether this as a business model can last,” Gartenberg said. “It's easy to replicate and under a lot of pressure. The question is where the company goes from here ... Clearly something wasn't working, isn't working.”
In a statement, Leonsis said, “Groupon will continue to invest in growth, and we are confident that with our deep management team and market-leading position, the company is well positioned for the future.”
In this Oct. 14, 2009 file photo, Andrew Mason, the CEO of Groupon, poses for a photo in Chicago. The struggling online deals company said Thursday, Feb. 28, after the market ...