For those who are unfamiliar with the rapid growth that saw Groupon from being a small attempt to a large international entity, news of the ‘sacking’ of its CEO, Andrew Mason, drew loads of sympathy. Why would a company sack the very person who made the company successful, brought it from nothing to a company drawing $5 billion US Dollar every year (if not more in the future)?
In a way, it IS a sad thing for the unconventional leader of Groupon. It takes a creative individual to start something like this but sadly, it takes a more serious person to bring the company to its next, new level. He is widely known for not taking himself too seriously and have come up with more than his fair share of quirky solutions. Being a charming, funny and eccentric leader has its perks but as the company is preparing to woo Wall Street Investors, you see.
According to some sources, the time it took Groupon from rags to riches is the fastest known to this planet…YET. Faster than Facebook or any other online social media sites and companies, in fact. Instead of feeling sad for Mason who undoubtedly is going to miss trading his antics with his staff while working, he is going off with a huge sum of money as a ‘thank you’ gift.
On top of that, Mason’s had a fine time rolling in the dough (to the tune of billions) ever since the company went public. And besides, Mason and the other partners have not sold their shares in Groupon, therefore, he continues to have vested interest in the baby that he helped create. Ironically, by firing Mason, he is not only richer but also is retired; as in there is no work to tend to and yet the money continues to grow in his bank account.
Isn’t this everyone’s dream ‘job’?
So, anyway, Andrew Mason is not going to be nursing too many wounds after he is fired. Yes, I would say that he would miss his family of co-workers and Groupon as a whole because he would no longer have a say about how the company is steered. Let’s look at it this way, he now have all the time in the world, loads of cash to use his quirky character and unconventional methods to come up with something even more awesome in the near future.
As a bonus, here’s the letter he sent to his staff on the day he was relieved of his duty as the CEO of Groupon.****
People of Groupon,
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. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company – it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
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