Groupon CEO fired; takes responsibility for company's poor performance

After months of rumors about internal strife, Groupon's CEO and founder is out the door -- effective immediately.

Just one day after missing fourth quarter earnings expectations, Groupon's chief executive officer is out of a job.

Groupon announced the shuffle at the top of the deck in a brief statement on Thursday, noting that Andrew Mason is being replaced, effective immediately.

While the Chicago-based e-commerce company searches for a new leader, executive chairman Eric Lefkofsky and vice chairman Ted Leonsis will step up in the interim.

Even though there have been reports for months about internal struggles at the daily deal business, no explanation for why Mason is being pushed out the door today -- at least from Groupon.

Both Leonsis and Lefkofsky issued diplomatic remarks about Mason's tenure in a statement, simply thanking Mason for his contributions as CEO and the company's founder.

The official statement from Groupon didn't include any words from Mason, but he did have some of his own to share in an internal memo that has since leaked.

The big takeaway is that Mason was fired from the business he started.

Here's an excerpt:

After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to 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. As CEO, I am accountable.

Once a soaring startup that courted acquisition opportunities from the likes of Google, Groupon has suffered greatly in the spotlight since declaring a $750 million initial public offering in 2011.

As the daily deal craze died down, Groupon has never quite recovered the magic and interest from consumers and analysts alike -- effectively turning into one of the poster children for bungled consumer tech IPOs in the last two years.

Mason admitted last winter that Groupon's board was considering whether or not to keep him as the company's leader, but at the time it looked like they'd keep him for the time being.

Upon news that Mason had been fired, Groupon shares were up six percent in after hours trading.

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