Will Ousted Groupon CEO Get The Last Laugh?
After months of speculation, the Groupon board finally pulled the trigger on founder and CEO Andrew Mason, forcing him out of the company he created. And in his typical fashion, Mason held his head high, taking full ownership for the situation in an open letter to colleagues and shareholders. Mason didn’t beat around the bush in his letter, he downright admitted he was fired. And he attempted to explain why.
“If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention,” Mason wrote. “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.“
Did Mason mean it? Probably not. But still, it’s refreshing to hear an ousted-CEO take responsibility and not play the blame game. He even went so far as to praise his Groupon colleagues, and reassure concerned allies of his well-being.
“For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be – I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created,” Mason wrote. “I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey.”
Wow, harsh. Any board member would be hard pressed to call Mason’s work a failure. After all, the college music major not only created the daily deals site—and industry for that matter—but guided to company through its first four years’ success of $2.5 billion in revenue. Oh yes, what a failure.
Still, Mason should be OK, given his severance package of $376.36. No, the decimal point isn’t misplaced there. That’s just less than $400—basically six months’ salary for Mason. Although he was earning as much as $180,000 annually according to a 2010 document, regulatory documents show he asked the board to cut his pay in 2011. Bet he’s kicking himself for that choice now.
But weekly or monthly pay has never been Mason’s real compensation at Groupon, anyway. He owns a huge chunk of the company with almost 47 million Groupon shares worth about $213 million. So until Groupon goes belly up—and if it does, won’t Mason be getting the last laugh—he’ll probably be able to keep the lights on.
[Image via Flickr/The Demo Conference]
I want more stuff like this!