Groupon has ousted its founder and chief executive Andrew Mason after the daily deals company suffered due to accounting manipulations, low earnings and falling stock price. The widely-expected move came after Groupon posted another quarterly loss, leading to a 24% slide in its stock price on Thursday.
Speculation has been rife since last year that Andrew Mason’s days as Groupon head were numbered, prompting him to state last November that, “If I ever thought I wasn’t the right guy for the job, I’d be the first person to fire myself.” Despite the likelihood, the timing of Andrew Mason’s ouster did catch some investors by surprise, who thought the boss would be given until the summer to try a turnaround strategy.
Andrew Mason bid farewell to his employees and followers on Twitter through a candid note which said, “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.”
On Thursday, Groupon revealed that it had made a bigger-than-expected loss for the last three months, and said that revenues during the current quarter would also undershoot expectations. Andrew Mason’s exit reveals a split in the company that he founded with Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. Together, the three men share majority voting power on Groupon’s board. Andrew Mason holds 20% of the voting rights, Eric Lefkofsky controls 28%, and Brad Keywell has 10%. Groupon stocks rose 3% in after-hours trading following Andrew Mason’s departure announcement.
Since the firm was floated in November 2011, Groupon shares has lost 77% of their value as a result of investors fear that its business model offering bulk discount deals may be unsustainable. Many investors have been concerned for some time now that Groupon’s customers are cheesed off with the deals it offers, and that it is facing more competition from other start-ups and from big firms such as Amazon and Google, who have adapted its strategy.