LivingSocial taps former eBay exec Gautam Thakar for CEO

The shakeup comes as LivingSocial works to transition itself into more of a marketing platform and away from daily deals.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor

Struggling daily deals platform LivingSocial has poached former eBay executive Gautam Thakar to become its new CEO and president.

Gautam Thakar. Image: eBay

The announcement comes at a critical time for LivingSocial, as the company works to transition itself into more of a marketing platform and away from daily deals.

Thakar's background certainly supports LivingSocial's marketing hopes. The former eBay executive most recently led the company's advertising business, and before that was the CEO of Shopping.com. The marketing experience goes back to when Thakar joined eBay as CMO upon its acquisition of baazee.com, followed by a stint as eBay's senior director of international marketing, where he led the global marketing leadership team across Europe and Asia.

He will replace LivingSocial co-founder Tim O'Shaunessy by mid-August, who announced earlier this year his intention to step down once a replacement was found. O'Shaughnessy will remain as an advisor to LivingSocial to assist with the transition.

"LivingSocial is well-positioned to play a growing role in demand generation for both local and national merchants," Thakar said in a statement. "This is a huge opportunity that will be realized by delighting consumers with personalized services and experiences at great prices. I am excited to join LivingSocial at this important chapter in its journey and help build on all the accomplishments that Tim and the team have achieved so far."

LivingSocial and other daily deals platforms like Groupon have been grasping for additional revenue streams and business offerings as of late, with the daily deals market now brimming with such services. To LivingSocial's credit, it was one of the early pioneers in the space, but it's fallen behind Groupon in branching out beyond its core business proposition.

The appointment of Thakar should bolster the company somewhat, although it seems as though LivingSocial is hardly struggling in the optimism department, even in the face of employee layoffs and a global scale down:

LivingSocial has made significant strides forward in the past six months and has executed its strategic refocusing to concentrate on marketplace innovation, product development and marketing as it evolves its core platform beyond daily deals.

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