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Rumor Mill: Groupon CEO Might Be Canned Soon

GRPN gets a slight push on the news


Groupon’s (NASDAQ:GRPN) board is considering booting its young-gun CEO, Andrew Mason, according to an AllThingsD report, and the news sent GRPN shares up nearly 5% before they calmed to more modest gains by midday Wednesday.

Mason pioneered the daily-deals business back in late 2008, then took Groupon public in late 2011 — the stock also surged, hitting a high of $26. But the good times didn’t last thanks to several accounting restatements, and troubles abroad.

To get things back on track, the company recently hired Kal Raman — a former executive at (NASDAQ:AMZN) with extensive international experience — as the COO. But according to AllThingsD, a board meeting set for this week could be the stage for talks about “management issues.”

Mason still might keep his title as CEO. Groupon has gotten much-needed investor support lately in the form of a 10% buy-in by Tiger Global Management.

Though on the flip side, this move could be another risk for Mason — the hedge fund will want to see quick results, and without them, it might push hard for new leadership.

Update, 1:38 p.m. EST: Mason gave an interview today at a BusinessInsider Conference and there are no signs that he has lost his offbeat ways.  He said:  “It would be more noteworthy if the board wasn’t discussing whether I’m the right guy for the job.” Oh, and he also noted: “If I ever thought I wasn’t the right person for the job, I’d be the first person to fire myself.”

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPOPlaybook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders.”  Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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