Groupon CEO Andrew Mason was fired today after more than four and a half years, during which he managed to cash out $30 million and hold more than 46 million shares of the public company, valued at nearly $1.4 billion at its peak.
In January, CelebrityNetWorth.com estimated that his net worth had crashed to about $230 million. Groupon's share price has continued to fall since January.
He is far from poor, and has done very well from Groupon, far better than early shareholders, who have suffered a nearly 90 percent fall in the value of their shares — if they kept them.
Groupon's fall from grace has affected other tech IPOs, even though it should not have been treated as a tech company. It employs more than 10,000 staff members, mostly in sales, and has no breakthrough technology or services. This is not a characteristic profile for a tech company, which typically has a small workforce and is able to scale up without needing thousands of workers.
Because it is considered a tech company, its problems will continue to weigh down the perception of other tech companies and their valuation in public and private markets, and in their prospects for successful IPOs.
The Groupon effect will continue to discount the value of tech companies well into 2013.