Groupon Founder and CEO Andrew Mason to Employees: 'I Was Fired Today'

Groupon founder Andrew Mason
Groupon founder Andrew Mason
 

Andrew Mason, the 32-year-old founder of deal-of-the-day website Groupon, has stepped down as CEO of the Chicago-based company after a disastrous fourth-quarter earnings report that saw its stock tumble 12 cents per share -- 10 cents more than analysts predicted.

Mason announced his departure in an open letter addressed to Groupon employees.

"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 writes. "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."

In his irreverent, proudly geeky style, he then likens his management failures to a cult video game title from the early 1990s.

"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," Mason says.

The company is looking for a new CEO. Co-founder Eric Lefkofsky joins vice chairman Ted Leonsis as co-CEO in the interim.

In January 2012, Mason was the subject of a 60 Minutes profile, where much was made of his "goofy" personality and penchant for pranksterism. (His executive bathroom is a porta-potty.) 

"If there's any difference between me and a traditional CEO, it's that I've been unwilling to change myself or shape my personality around what's expected," he told reporter Lesley Stahl at the time.

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