Tags: groupon | ceo | ousted | letter

Groupon CEO Ousted, Writes Memorable Resignation Letter

By Alexandra Ward   |   Friday, 01 Mar 2013 11:23 AM

Groupon Inc. ousted Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason on Thursday, a move to push the online daily coupon site in a new direction after share prices have plunged, but it's Mason's memorable resignation letter that is really making waves.

Rather than bash the company that fired him, Mason penned a gracious goodbye that put his characteristic sense of humor on full display.

"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," Mason said in a note sent to his employees. "Just kidding—I was fired today. If you're wondering why… you haven't been paying attention."

Twitter users spoke out Friday in support of Mason's honest letter.

Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis will oversee the company as they search for a successor. Groupon said Thursday that first-quarter revenue will be $560 to $610 million. Analysts on average had predicted $647.7 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Groupon went public in late 2011 at $20 a share. The stock closed Thursday at $4.53.

Here's the complete copy of Mason's letter:

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.

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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.

Love, Andrew

Related stories:

Groupon CEO Says He'd Fire Himself If He Wasn't Right For The Job

Groupon CEO To Stay After Directors Discuss His Tenure

Groupon Cancels Gun-Related Deals

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