Andrew Mason’s reign as chief executive officer of Groupon could be about to come to an end.
Groupon’s board is meeting tomorrow, and they could very well decide a change is needed in response to Groupon’s disastrous performance since its IPO last year. The daily deals company has lost 80 percent of its value, has purged itself of many an executive and competes in an increasingly crowded space with what some believe to be an outdated model.
Yet in the face of all this upheaval, Mason agreed to an interview with Henry Blodget of Business Insider, defending his role in public while acknowledging Groupon’s ongoing difficulties.
Here are some of Mason’s more interesting quotes from the interview.
“Newsflash — our stock is down 80 percent. ‘It would be weird if the board wasn’t discussing whether I was the right guy for the job.’”
This is Mason’s response to Blodget’s first question, a blunt but necessary inquiry, “is the board going to fire you tomorrow?” Mason was candid in admitting that it’s a reasonable question for both Blodget and the board to ask, but firm in his belief that he’s still the best man for the job. This is a sentiment Mason would echo throughout the interview.
“People who joined Groupon to be part of the latest fad haven’t survived. ‘What you’re left with are the true believers … they realize the pain they’re going to undertake for the next few months. It’s part of the journey.’”
Blodget asked Mason how he dealt with the “hype cycle” and “scorn cycle” surrounding Groupon, and after the CEO largely dodged the question the first time, Blodget pressed on. Mason then followed up with this spirited albeit somewhat vague defense, insinuating that those who stick with Groupon now will benefit later.
“Mobile will be a big enabler for us. Trendline is ‘staggering.’ A third of transactions are mobile. Over past weekend, half of transactions were on mobile. Mobile is an enabler of local e-commerce in same way that broadband has been for online video.”
After much of the speculation over Mason’s job security was covered, Blodget asked what Groupon will look like in five or 10 years. Mason highlighted his company is about “discovery,” and also spoke about how Groupon Goods would fit into the future.
“Plane crashes are more interesting than safe landings. ‘When Groupon fails to deliver ROI, it fails in a much more dramatic way than putting an ad in a newspaper and not getting ROI.’
After Mason spoke about Goods, Blodged asked if Groupon would “morph into Amazon.” After uttering this gem, Mason repeated that Groupon will not “try to out-Amazon Amazon,” something he’s said before, and claimed that his company is in a unique position. “We’re not going to show people 1,000 TVs, we’re going to show them one,” he said.
“’If I thought I wasn’t the right guy, I’d be the first person to stand up and take myself out of the job … I care far more about the success of the business than I do about my role as CEO.’”
Blodget ended the interview the way he started it – by asking Mason to speculate on his job, and to give his reaction to the possibility that he could be replaced. Mason once again kept his cool, acknowledging his faults and Groupon’s flaws, but reiterating that he should continue to captain the ship.
To read more of Mason’s interview with Blodget, click here.