Some more exec shifting afoot at daily deals and local commerce site Groupon. Today the company announced that Rich Williams would be its next chief operating officer. And at the same time, the company said that it would be losing its CFO, Jason Child, who will be leaving at the end of July to join Jawbone as its CFO.
Perhaps to soften the blow of the financial exec change, the company also today announced that it would add another $200 to its share repurchase program, bringing it up to $500 million. Nevertheless, the company’s stock dropped a few percentage points today after the news came out.
The COO role appears to have remained vacant since Kal Raman to take on a role in Asia, before leaving the company altogether in November to take on the CEO role with online homebuyer services at Solutionstar.
Groupon has had some fairly high profile musical chairs with the COO position. In 2011, it went through execs in the role, eventually quieting things down with the appointment of Raman.
In contrast to that, Child was a longtime and stable employee of Groupon, having joined as CFO back in 2010 after working at Amazon and leading the company through all kinds of financial and executive changes, including its rollercoaster IPO and subsequent stock tumble, the departure of colorful cofounder and CEO Andrew Mason, the restructuring of its international business and repositioning the company from its daily deal roots to include local commerce solutions.
“Jason has done a tremendous job of helping lead Groupon through one of the most explosive periods of growth any company has ever experienced,” said CEO Eric Lefkofsky in a statement. “We wish him the very best in his next venture.”
Back at Groupon, Williams is an internal appointment. He is already president of the company’s North America business — a role he will continue to keep alongside the new COO responsibilities.
Giving Williams the promotion is both a sign of Groupon looking for more continuity and also of the clear strategy at the company of making North America very much the focus and bedrock of how it plans its future strategy and future products.
“Rich has been integral in steering our North American local business to three consecutive quarters of double-digit growth and helping to lead Groupon’s transformation to a mobile commerce marketplace,” said Lefkofsky. “As North America continues to be the leading edge of our tools, systems and processes, Rich is perfectly positioned to bring that operational leverage to our international markets.”
Williams has been with Groupon since 2011, when he joined as CMO.
“Two of Groupon’s biggest advantages are our connection to local merchants and customers and our strong operational team around the globe,” said Williams in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the progress we’ve made and bringing the advantages that have helped scale our North American business to our global operations.”
The company’s execs from EMEA and other global operations will now report to Williams, Groupon says.
Brian Kayman, VP of Tax and Treasury at the company, will serve as interim CFO effective immediately, Groupon says.
The share repurchase is effective immediately will continue through August of 2017, the company said.
The company also added that it’s sticking to guidance for future earnings. In the last quarter, it beat expectations on profit but missed on revenues, and said that it expects revenue of between $700 million and $750 million for this current quarter, with earnings of between $0.01 and $0.03 on an adjusted basis.
Child taking reins at Jawbone
Meanwhile, in joining Jawbone, Child is coming on at a time when the maker of fitness trackers, speakers and other connected gear has been going through a few challenging hoops itself. Amid reports that it might seek to IPO (with some likely to make the connection that Child is joining to help with that process), Jawbone raised a $300 million round, which then revealed to have come in the form of a convertible note. There were also delays with its UP3 band that led many to wonder what was going on with the company, although the band finally started to ship in April, minus waterproofing. The company is also in the process of suing Fitbit.
Hosain Rahman, Jawbone’s CEO, himself highlighted Child’s role in Groupon’s IPO in his own remarks on the appointment.
“As Groupon’s CFO, Jason not only took them public, but drove a 10x increase in sales – from $750 million to $7.6 billion while taking the company from significant loss to profit. Jason also spent 1999 to 2010 at Amazon, the last 4 years as CFO of Amazon’s International business, covering half their overall business. Jason comes to Jawbone with experience scaling two fast growing business to profit while aggressively investing in the future. There are few execs with that kind of operational experience on the planet.”
As did Child himself in his own statement:
“I’m joining Jawbone at an incredibly exciting time. With funding in place and new products on the market, Jawbone is in a great position to harness its potential and reach many more millions of users across the globe. I look forward to working with Hosain, Sameer and the entire executive team to take the company to its next stage of growth.”