Andrew Mason is out as CEO of Groupon

1 Mar 2013

Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason

The co-founder and CEO of Groupon Andrew Mason, who pretty much kickstarted the daily deals facet of e-commerce but who in recent days presided over a considerable fall in the company’s share price, has been ousted as CEO of the company.

The idea for Groupon came from Mason and his former employer Eric Lefkofksy provided US$1m in seed money to develop the idea.

Within just a few years, the company became a potential acquisition target for Google, filed a US$750m IPO on NASDAQ and achieved hundreds of millions of annual revenues.

However, poor results this week failed to inspire Wall Street investors as it emerged the company was sacrificing revenues and profits to encourage merchants and shoppers to use the platform.

Although revenue increased 30pc to US$638.3m, Groupon reported an operating loss of US$12.9m in the fourth quarter 2012. Net losses amounted to US$81.1m.

The company’s stock fell by as much as 26pc at one point and as the debris cleared about a fifth of the company’s share value was obliterated.

According to Groupon, Mason will leave the role of CEO. Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and vice-chairman Ted Leonsis will fill the CEO role on an interim basis.

“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,” said Lefkofsky.

“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,” said Leonsis.

Mason was a little more to the point in his blog: “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.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years