Groupon's Andrew Mason Takes Firing Rumors in Stride
Groupon's (NASDAQ: GRPN) co-founder and CEO Andrew Mason addressed rumors that he may taking an involuntary leave from the top spot at his company on Wednesday at the Business Insider Ignition conference in New York. According to AllThingsD, Groupon's board of directors is considering replacing the young CEO as the stock has plummeted since its much hyped IPO in November 2011.
"Our stock is down 80% [year-to-date] ... it would be weird for the board not to be asking that question," Mason said. "It would be more noteworthy if the board wasn't discussing it," he added. The rumors were initially reported by Kara Swisher.
According to Swisher, a number of board members have been engaged in serious discussions about making major leadership changes at Groupon. Any shake-up, however, would likely involve the input of Mason himself.
She wrote that "to be clear, a move to replace Mason is not likely to happen immediately, if at all. And, in any case, any changes are likely to be done with his involvement." For his part, Mason struck a tone of levity at the Ignition conference. He said, "I care far more about the success of the business than I do about my job as a CEO."
The reason that Mason is in the hot seat is primarily because of the stock price, although the CEO has made some rather public blunders and hasn't always come off as being polished and professional. Some wonder if Groupon needs an Eric Schmidt type to execute its turnaround plan. Schmidt is the well-respected Chairman (and former CEO) of Google who was brought in to help founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page grow the company.
The market reacted positively to Mason's comments on Wednesday as GRPN added 11.62 percent to close at $4.42. The stock has been on an upswing in recent weeks after top tech-oriented hedge fund Tiger Global Management revealed that it had acquired a near 10 percent stake in the Chicago-based company.
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