Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Groupon punts its quirky chief

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NEW YORK -- Struggling online-deals pioneer Groupon has ousted its quirky founder and CEO Andrew Mason amid worries people are tiring of the myriad online restaurant, spa and Botox deals Groupon built its business on.

Shares jumped after 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 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 fuelled 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.

 

-- The Associated Press

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2013 B6

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