Groupon announced today that it has hired Faisal Masud former eBay exec as head of the company’s relatively new and somewhat successful Groupon Goods unit.
Yesterday, the company announced that another eBay exec, Kal Raman, was joining the company “to build out the company’s internal controls and processes, which have come under scrutiny after several recent gaffes.”
This after the company’s CEO Andrew Mason held an employee town hall meeting on Wednesday in which he allowed The Wall Street Journal to sit in via webcast and watch him drink beer. At one point, when his “voice broke,” he apologized for drinking too much, explaining that he usually conducts all company business while doing shots and there’s never a problem. Joking. But no seriously, he was drinking beer. Which prompted AllThingsD to ask Raman the next day if he was being brought in to provide adult supervision.
And I bought a voucher for a $19 mani/pedi today!
Groupon has previously gotten into trouble for its wacky accounting and reporting techniques, which have prompted a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.
“Revamping Groupon’s board and adding to its management bench may help restore market confidence in the company,” the WSJ writes. It also references some of Mason’s comments during the happy hour employee get-together, where he said the company would be focused on following Sarbanes-Oxley rules and beefing up financial staff.
Mason sounds like someone who’s simply not ready for primetime; totally unprepared for the rigors of being the head of a public company. Besides making a fool of himself publicly, he’s also becoming a case study in the CEO’s role in building and maintaining a company’s good reputation.
The WSJ notes that Groupon isn’t profitable, meaning that investors and others want to see sober leaders that are working to turn that around. Even profitable company leaders have to show that they are capable of keeping the company on the good foot. When people are asking whether someone has been hired to take responsibility for the company, that’s a bad sign.