Earlier today, Groupon fired CEO Andrew Mason. Mason posted his exit letter publicly, noting that it would eventually be leaked to the press anyway.
Mason’s letter begins:
“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.”
“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.”
While we certainly wish Mason well on his next adventure and admire his humor, humility and candor, his exit letter makes Groupon’s problems painfully clear. Companies that start with the customer inevitably fail. Successful companies start with VALUE CREATION. They place as much importance on their people/employees as they do on their customers because great employee experiences drive great customer experiences. They optimize value creation through obsessive customer empathy, brand building, fiscal prudence, and operational effectiveness. They realize that sustained growth requires a balanced portfolio of strategies and the management capabilities to implement them.
Media reports that Eric Lefkofsky, Groupon’s Executive Chairman, will assume Mason’s responsibilities in the interim as Groupon launches a search for a new CEO. Will analysts see this executive management shuffle as an operational improvement? It has been suggested that Eric Lefkofsky has a track record akin to racketeering – generating big revenue driven by huge losses then cashing out fast. Sadly, Lefkofsky’s leadership style may not bode well for Groupon’s long term survival. See: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2011/06/10/groupon-eric-lefkofsky.
If Groupon truly aspires to turn the company around, perhaps its Board and team will begin by revisiting the basics. It’s amazing how many companies fail at the basics. It’s the little things that mean alot.
For more on this topic, see RE:INVENTION’s Ten Guiding Principles for Every Day Inventive and Reinventive Companies | http://bit.ly/XB8htJ.
We wish Groupon’s employees, board, investors, and shareholders nothing less than a remarkable reinvention!
– RE:INVENTION’s 12 “C’s” of Commercialization Planning Guide:
– RE:INVENTION Every Day Inventive and Reinventive Tips (103 tips and counting!):