Groupon to Begin Post-Mason Era

Andrew Klips  |

Three months ago, Groupon Inc. (GRPN) missed analyst expectations, sending shares plummeting and putting chief executive officer and co-founder Andrew Mason on the hot seat as rumors churned that the underachieving company needed a management change.  Mason survived that round, but three months and another earnings miss later, the board of the Chicago-based daily deals company had seen enough.  Mason was ousted on Thursday, following the poor fourth-quarter financial report and soft guidance provided on Wednesday afternoon.

Groupon said that it will begin the hunt for Mason’s replacement. In the meantime, the company has created the Office of the Chief Executive and appointed executive chairman Eric Lefkofsky and vice chairman Ted Leonsis to the new office, effective immediately, to fill the role of the CEO in the interim.

Lefkofsky gave a gratuitous “thank you” in the corporate statement of the news.  “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,” added Leonsis.

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The company also said that their first-quarter guidance and full year outlook are still the same as what was provided on Wednesday.

Mason, a man known to be light-hearted, at least is covering the disappointment with some humor.  The new unemployment candidate said in a note on, “I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today.”  The rest of the memo had serious portions where Mason expressed his love and well wishes for the company that he created.

It’s been a tumultuous road for Groupon over the past 16 months as a public company.  In one of the most highly anticipated IPO’s in recent years, the company debuted in November of 2011 at $26 per share and rose as high as $30 per share in its first day of trading.  Shares never came close to that price again, falling as low as $2.60 on year later.

Shares had climbed back up to a six-month high of $6.12 in trading on Wednesday before the earnings report came after the closing bell, sending shares in a tailspin.  Shares touched $4.24 on Thursday and closed at $4.53, but found some additional life after the news of Mason’s firing, rising back up to $4.72 in extended trading.

Get checking the website, Andrew.  Now you’ve got some time for a family trip.

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