Andrew Mason has officially stepped down from his position atop the embattled Internet company Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) just a day after it reported a $81.1 million net loss.
Mason announced the news in a “surprise meeting” late Thursday afternoon, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Shortly after making the announcement, Mason posted a letter announcing his departure on Twitter, saying, “This is for Groupon employees, but I'm posting it publicly since it will leak anyway.”
“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,” Mason wrote in his letter.
“Everyone’s sort of sad,” a Groupon employee who asked to remain anonymous, said in an interview after hearing the news. “But I think it needed to be done.”
Mason said that the company’s board has already begun a search for a new CEO.
Read the full text of Mason’s letter below:
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.