Today the markets will be watching as Groupon’s board considers dumping founder Andrew Mason as the company’s CEO to make way for a more seasoned executive. But some are questioning whether anyone—even someone with decades of experience in the public sector—has what it takes to turn the company around.
Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN)’s board of directors will meet today to talk about whether CEO Andrew Mason is still up to the job of running the company he founded. Shares of the company have dropped almost 80 percent since it went public about a year ago, although this morning in pre-market trading, shares increased by more than 11 percent, possibly on the news that Groupon may be replacing Mason. ValueWalk has been covering extensively the possibility that Mason may get the boot soon. He even said he would fire himself if necessary.
One of the expectations is that Groupon’s board may dump Mason for a replacement who is a seasoned business leader, with plenty of experience leading massive public companies. Bloomberg cites an anonymous source who said some board members plan to voice their frustration with Mason and advise the rest of the board to consider looking for a more seasoned CEO.
It’s easy to see why they are questioning if Mason has what it takes to lead such a massive company. He’s a 32-year-old who majored in music when he went to college, and while he had an innovative idea that took off rapidly, he had very little business experience prior to being tossed into his role as the CEO of a major public corporation.
Bloomberg also drew a comparison to a similar situation at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that ended in a great success. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were the geniuses behind the start-up of Google, but when the company stretched beyond what even they expected of it, they stepped aside to make way for current CEO Eric Schmidt, a seasoned business professional who’d been around the block many times before joining Google.
Of course while Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) did successfully create a new daily deals industry, the company’s business model has certainly had its share of problems, so some are questioning whether even a seasoned pro can turn the company around. Many small businesses that offered Groupons ended up losing money in the deal, so they usually don’t do it again. The result is a company that had a string of first-time customers in the beginning, but it just doesn’t have the momentum to keep going, which is why we’ve seen the stock drop so significantly since Groupon’s IPO.
MarketWatch’s Therese Poletti is one voice questioning whether Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) has what it takes to make it as a company. She asked, “Groupon has indeed developed a big brand, but is it a very valuable one? Or does it denote a cheap customer who would never come to your restaurant again unless he or she had a deep-discount coupon?”
Poletti even goes so far as to say that Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) may have a difficult time finding a new leader who fits well with its business model. So the real question that sits in the lap of the company’s board members today is whether even a seasoned business leader has what it takes to pick Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) up and fix all of the problems with its business model.