Founder Andrew Mason accepts blame for financial failings and leaves with colourful goodbye to staff
When a 32-year-old dotcom multimillionaire known for his “goofball” approach to business is fired, the chances are he is not going to slip out the back door, hanging his head in shame. And so it was with Andrew Mason, founder of the Groupon daily bargains website, ousted on Thursday night.
In a classic of the resignation genre, Mason’s goodbye was frank, funny and wide-ranging. It referenced Pope Benedict XVI and video game Battletoads, included a promise to head off to “fat camp” and told his 11,000 staff he would miss them terribly before signing off: “Love Andrew”.
The company Mason built, driving bargain hunters to local businesses in return for a cut of the sales, swiftly became a multinational. Founded only four years ago, it was dubbed the world’s fastest growing company and valued at $13bn (£10bn) by 2011. But the business has become a textbook example of just how fast go-go internet firms can fall out of favour. The loss-making company is now valued at $3bn and the founder – once heralded as a star on the cover of Forbes magazine but more recently described by analysts as a “goofball” – became a liability.
By Thursday evening, after Groupon reported a huge $80m loss over the last three months and shares slid another 24%, the board had had enough. Mason was axed – and the value of the firm immediately climbed.
In an email to the “People of Groupon” to break the news, Mason wrote: “I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today.” He continued: “If you’re wondering why
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