Mendoza School of Business

ND Expert: Fired Groupon CEO Mason not solely to blame for poor performance

Published: March 1, 2013 / Author: Shannon Chapla

Troubled online coupon giant Groupon fired its quirky founder and CEO Andrew Mason Thursday (Feb. 28) following another
disappointing quarter, and University of Notre Dame Management Professor TimothyJudge says, “Clearly, Groupon’s poor financial performance was the
precipitating factor in Mason’s downfall.”

However, Judge, who specializes in management psychology, leadership
personality and career and life success, says Mason’s strange sense of humor
and irreverent behavior didn’t do him any favors.

“The degree to which leaders fit the images individuals have of them makes a
difference,” Judge says. “Leaders who display traits, appearances or behaviors
at variance with conventional wisdom are often viewed warily and their
performance scrutinized. After all, J.C. Penney CEO Ron
Johnson, after badly missing earnings and sales projections, experiencing one
of the worst quarterly losses in JCP history and
retreating from his bold proclamation regarding sales and discount pricing,
still has his job. As a former Apple executive with an MBA
from Harvard, Johnson fits the mold. Mason, who has no previous corporate
experience and a music degree, doesn’t.”

Mason isn’t solely to blame for Groupon’s poor performance, though, says

“I think it’s quite possible that the real problem was that the company was
overvalued at the time of its initial public offering, which often happens,”
Judge says. “And, investors and board members are kicking themselves, but much
of the blame for that does not rest at Mason’s feet.”

Judge has written and been interviewed extensively about his gender earnings, ambition
and work stress research, among other studies.

Contact: Timothy Judge, 574-631-4802,


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