November 19, 2015 Last Updated 10:34 am

Groupon’s newly appointed CEO says company is misunderstood

Rich Williams, hired on initially to be the company’s CMO, recently replaced Groupon’s cofounder Eric Lefkofsky as CEO and faces a declining share price, among other challenges

The newly appointed CEO of daily deal company Groupon today penned a blog post on the company’s website saying “Groupon is a misunderstood company.” Rich Williams, named just this month to replace cofounder Eric Lefkofsky as CEO, said there are myths about the company he would like to dispel.

The first is that Groupon is a daily deal company.

Groupon-stock“This is the biggie,” wrote Williams. “And it’s typically followed up with something along the lines of ‘deals are dead.’”

But a paragraph later Williams then says that deals “are core to who we are as a company, and we’re not running away from them–not by a long shot.”

Hmm, wonder where people got the idea that Groupon is all about daily deals then?

Rich Williams joined Groupon as Chief Marketing Officer in the summer of 2011 after three and a half years at Amazon, where he was involved with marketing and advertising. One assumes Williams’ job was to let the market know what Groupon is about, and how it wants to be seen.

In his blog post Williams says that Groupon isn’t going out of business, and Groupon isn’t bad for business (though many would disagree).

What motivated the blog post is likely advice the new CEO has been getting from investors who have seen the share price of the company go from $12.76 two years ago to around $2.75 today. Many probably would like to see Groupon exit the daily deals market. But Williams says this would be the wrong move.

“These are admittedly major shifts in our strategy for a new CEO who has been in the job for what amounts to a handful of days. I’ve been here for over 4 years however, and as I said before, I don’t need the proverbial 100 days to know that these are the right decisions. We simply can’t expect to win if we’re not willing to double down on what’s working and walk away from what’s not. And why wait to do the right thing?” Williams wrote.

Groupon announced in September that it would eliminate about 1,100 positions, most in the company’s international Deal Factory and Customer Service.

“Let’s be clear: these are tough actions to take, especially when we believe we’re stronger than ever,” Williams wrote on the company’s blog in September. “We’re doing all we can to make these transitions as easy as possible, but it’s not easy to lose some great members of the Groupon family. Yet just as our business has evolved from a largely hand-managed daily deal site to a true commerce technology platform, our operational model has to evolve.”

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