We’ve been very critical of Groupon and its founding CEO Andrew Mason. The enigmatic Silicon Valley guy has famously shunned Google’s $6 billion bid for his company and seen his stocks fall to levels that make the shunning itself look downright ludicrous. We were critical when the shares were falling to $15. They’re hovering over $5 today. Still, should he be fired?
A year and a quarter since going public, the company is in big trouble. Mason is fighting to keep his job, but just as Larry Page turned to Eric Schmidt to lead his company through the crucial years, should Groupon do the same?
Investors have shown signs they want Mason out, sending shares up 5 percent when tech blog AllThingsD broke the news on Nov. 27 that the board was considering a successor. During a meeting later that week, directors agreed to give Mason a few more quarters before beginning a search for his replacement, according to two people familiar with the meeting who asked not to be named because the board’s deliberations aren’t public. Spokesmen for the company and the directors declined to comment on the discussions.
Action will happen soon. It can’t wait much longer. Even if that action is to keep him on, they need to make major changes or turn into something that makes the Facebook IPO look like a smart early investment.