Groupon started out in Chicago as an idea for online social activism and turned into an online daily deals site. I don’t know how the change happened, but quirky (literally the best word to describe him) co-founder Andrew Mason made it into one of the fastest growing start-ups ever. But what goes up must come down, the idea was too easy to duplicate and many copycats came and ate away at Groupon’s market share. Although the company is still the leader in online deals, as of late it has been on a steady decline, and when you have a publicly traded company that starts to suffer, someone has to answer for it. Unfortunately that someone is CEO Andrew Mason as he was fired Thursday (2/28/13).
In an unusually candid and funny letter to the staff that Mason released publicly, he said his goodbyes. The first couple of lines will give you an idea of the letter’s overall tone, Mason wrote, “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…” The open letter goes on to name the shortcomings of the company as he took responsibility. While Groupon is searching for a new CEO, co-founder Eric Lekofsky and board member Ted Leonsis will run the company in the interim. Rumors are swirling that no current board member is up for consideration for the vacant CEO position.
Photo by Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg