Groupon boss says 'Too much beer' as he tells staff company has to grow up


By Noel Young | Correspondent

April 26, 2012 | 3 min read

It wasn't what you expect from a billion-dollar company: the boss, beer bottle in hand, telling staff the company needs to grow up. But this was Groupon yesterday. Maybe CEO Andrew Mason didn't know he was on telly.

Andrew Mason . . apology over beer

"We're still this toddler in a grown man's body in many ways," he said during the hour-long closed-door meeting, which The Wall Street Journal reported it watched via webcast.

The 31-year-old CEO at times drank from a beer bottle while he set corporate priorities for the next six months. At one point during his remarks, his voice broke and he said, according to the WSJ, "Sorry, too much beer."

The priorities, he said, included beefing up financial controls and hiring more finance staff. Mason said the company had "no margin for error. "

Last month Groupon had to revise its quarterly financial results . It admitted underestimating the amount of customer refund requests and said there was a "material weakness" in its internal controls.

The WSJ said some investors had "questioned whether Mr. Mason was experienced and mature enough to be in charge of a multi-billion-dollar public company. "

The Journal previously reported that the revision of the quarterly results led to an examination from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As well as new senior managers, Groupon is believed to be talking about bringing on board at least two new board members.

The WSJ said revamping the board and adding to its management , " may help restore market confidence in the company."

Groupon's stock has dropped from its $20 IPO price last November to $12.27 this week.

Groupon, employing 11,000 people last year, brought in $1.6 billion but is still unprofitable. Its quarterly earnings are due on May 14. Groupon says it expects to have addressed the internal controls issue by then.

FOOTNOTE: A Groupon spokesman said the talk was part of a series of informal weekly meetings , where employees can quiz executives. Beer is available for everyone.


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