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Two For One: Groupon Replaces CEO Mason With Board Members
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Two For One: Groupon Replaces CEO Mason With Board Members

Economy

Two For One: Groupon Replaces CEO Mason With Board Members
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with a shakeup at Groupon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The CEO of the online discount site Groupon has been pushed out from the company he founded. Andrew Mason's ouster came a day after the company reported worse than expected losses.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports that Mason's exit is no surprise.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Groupon's stock value has been on a steady decline since it's IPO in November of 2011. It's gone from 20 bucks a share to below five.

CEO Mason was known to be a bit of an eccentric, and his last day was no exception. He posted a letter online that said quote, "I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today."

Altimeter Group analyst Susan Etlinger says quirkiness can be a great quality in the leader of a start up - but when it comes to running a public company - not so much.

SUSAN ETLINGER: When you're a startup founder, people expect and want a degree of inspiration. When you're the CEO of a public company what people want is reassurance and continuity.

SYDELL: However, it may be hard for any new CEO of Groupon. Business that offered deals through Groupon discovered providing a discount to get someone in the door didn't necessarily turn them into a long time customer.

ETLINGER: It's giving you people who are looking for a cheaper alternative. That's not necessarily the people that you build a business on.

SYDELL: In his parting letter, former CEO Mason offers this wisdom, have the courage to start with the customer. But, for Groupon, it's not clear if that's the people looking for the discount or the business offering one.

Laura Sydell, NPR news. San Francisco.

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