By Tiffany Hsu
1:39 PM EST, November 28, 2012
On Thursday, Groupon Inc.’s board members will reportedly debate the fate of Andrew Mason, the chief executive of the struggling daily deals site.
But then again, “it would be weird” if they didn’t, he said. “It’s their chief responsibility to ask that question.”
After all, this is a company whose stock has tanked since it went public barely a year ago. Experts are claiming “deal fatigue” among consumers overwhelmed by an onslaught of online coupons and discounts. The European debt crisis and resulting austerity measures have put a deep crimp in Groupon’s operations on that continent.
“It would be more noteworthy if the board wasn’t discussing whether I’m the right guy for the job,” Mason said Wednesday at a conference hosted by Business Insider. “If I ever thought I wasn’t the right person for the job, I’d be the first person to fire myself.”
Last November, Groupon went public at $20 a share, opening at $28. On Tuesday, it closed at $3.96 a share -- a plunge of more than 80%.
But Mason spent much of the chat defending the company, pointing to its growth in North America, its potential to keep expanding, its evolution from email blasts to a searchable marketplace option, bankruptcy chances so low they’re “absurd” and the “resiliency” of his colleagues to “external noise.”
He admitted, however, that Groupon has “had bumps in the road” and that the company is “paying” for its decision to ramp up quicky in Europe instead of investing heavily in technological development, as it had in North America.
Groupon stock bumped up slightly during Mason’s words and was trading mid-day above $4 a share. Ultimately, he said, “I want to do what’s best for Groupon.”
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