Struggling online deals pioneer Groupon has fired its quirky founder and CEO Andrew Mason amid worries that people are tiring of the online restaurant, spa and Botox deals that Groupon built its business on.
In a refreshingly candid memo to staff, Mason said Groupon's employees "deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I'm getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance."
Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis were appointed to the Office of the Chief Executive while a replacement is found.
Mason made no qualms about what had happened.
"I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today," Mason, 32, wrote. "If you're wondering why. you haven't been paying attention."
He referred to controversy over the accounting practices used in regulatory filings ahead of Groupon Inc.'s November 2011 initial public offering of stock as well as "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," he wrote. "As CEO, I am accountable."
The announcement came one day after Groupon reported a bigger-than-expected loss and gave a weak revenue outlook for the current quarter. The guidance had fueled investor worry - which started even before Groupon's IPO - that people are suffering from fatigue over the frequent emails flooding subscribers' inboxes. There were also worries that the company's efforts to broaden into an e-commerce powerhouse haven't been paying off.
Groupon said Mason was not available for interviews.