Should Groupon CEO swig beer at work?
With all of the company's recent troubles, maybe the boss needs to grow up.
Andrew Mason, all of 31 years old, drank beer in a town hall meeting with employees Wednesday. He set the daily-deal site's agenda for the next six months, according to The Wall Street Journal.
It's not unusual for a tech company boss to swig beer. But during the workday, and during a town hall meeting to talk about corporate priorities? At one point, the Journal reports, his voice broke and Mason said, "Sorry, too much beer." It's all a little much, in fact.
On top of it all, the Journal secretly found a way to watch the closed-door meeting via webcast. It's the latest embarrassment for a company that has run into numerous troubles over the last year.
Groupon shares were down more than 2% Thursday to $11.99.
In Groupon's defense, the meeting was one of several informal town halls where everyone is allowed to drink beer.
I don't mean to be prude about drinking beer, but here's the thing: Groupon is desperate to convince shareholders and customers that it is a worthwhile investment. That it is professional. That it's not being run by juveniles. That it has a plan to improve and fix its problems.
Will this unplanned peek into the company's culture and strategy help?
Marketing guru Frank Reed asks the million-dollar question: "If you are looking to right a ship that is supposedly worth billions of dollars, would this report from The Wall Street Journal instill confidence that this will get better?"
Groupon still doesn't make a profit, despite generating $1.6 billion in sales last year.
If everything was going well at Groupon, the behavior might be overlooked, Reed notes. "I know that in today's anti-corporate world it may be cool to drink beer at your work place and party a bit, but that doesn't make it smart," he adds.
Groupon had to restate its revenue last month, and saw its stock plunge as investors turned skeptical. It reported a "material weakness" in financial controls and less fourth-quarter revenue than it originally stated.
Henry Blodget of Business Insider says the beer-drinking episode reflects a system-wide problem at the company.
"If you were a crew member on a ship and the captain called a ship-wide meeting to tell everyone they needed to grow up -- and delivered the message while swigging beer -- you would understand that the problem came right from the top," he writes.
Here are more details from the meeting, according to the Journal:
- Mason described the company as "still this toddler in a grown man's body in many ways."
- Mason said the financial restatement was "the latest in a string of just us making an example of how bad we are at being a public company. We have to get good at this."
- He said Groupon needs to slow down and focus on fewer projects. The company should be looking at quality and control, he said, and "not taking stupid risks."
- Mason said Groupon will hire more financial staff and instruct employees further on how to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules.
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The one thing that everyone is keying on is the beer comment. The real issue here is that is a fraud has been committed. Groupon has never been in the black from day one. They have never made a profit. They pulled the wool over the SECs eyes and that's a huge no no. That will be their demise. Basically they had big money backing an unsustainable business plan. Big money pumping money into this dog with fleas so that they could rip off the common idiot when they went public. That they did big time and NOW everyones up in arms. The street said it was a $10 stock and I think that's a bit high.They have an IPO, the backers take their profits, the people who think it's the internet so it must be good get screwed and now they moan. Groupon will be out of business by the end of the summer or at best a penny stock. The SEC is going to come down on them hard and they don't care. They made their money and then some when they went public. It's a little late to cry when you don't do your homework. Take your lumps, dump it before the SEC steps in and quit whinning about some beer comment. It's way beyond that. Groupon's finished and Andrew Mason does not care. He made his money. His little beer comment is just going to make it a little harder to squeeze a little more money out of this farce. Watch what transpires over the next month and then think about what I wrote.
uh...so drinking a glass of bourbon at work isn't OK either?
Tell that to the lawyers and CEO's of the world.
Article is ricokulous
[funny when the site spam filter won't let you say the name of the company that's the topic of the fargin' article!!?]
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