Most analysts believed that it was only a matter of time before Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) CEO Andrew Mason lost his job. He controlled enough of the company’s shares (19.5% of voting stock) along with co-founder and Chairman Eric P. Lefkofsk, who owns 27.7%, and Bradley A. Keywell who owns 10%.
But even his partners grew tired as Groupon’s business fell apart under pressure from large rivals like Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) and scores of smaller online coupon companies. Recent earnings were so disappointing that they sent shares down 25% to $4.52, down from a 52-week high of $19.89.
The company’s PR:
Groupon the global leader in local commerce, today announced a leadership change in which Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis have been appointed to the newly created Office of the Chief Executive, effective immediately, replacing Andrew Mason. Lefkofsky and Leonsis will serve in this role on an interim basis. The Board has commenced a search for a new Chief Executive.
“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.
The company’s guidance for first quarter and full year 2013 outlined in yesterday’s earnings announcement remains unchanged.