Eric Lefkofsky says he intends to be chief executive of Groupon for "a
His tenure will end, he said in an interview late Wednesday, when Chicago-based Groupon has completed its transition from a daily deals company to a stable e-commerce company. His ambition, he said, is for Groupon to become the first place shoppers turn to when they "want to buy anything, anywhere, any time."
Lefkofsky and fellow board member Ted Leonsis had been serving as interim co-CEOs since founding CEO Andrew Mason was fired in February. Lefkofsky headed the day-to-day operations while Leonsis led the search for a new CEO.
The search didn't last long.
Groupon announced Lefkofsky's appointment as CEO and Leonsis' appointment as chairman in conjunction with its second-quarter earnings release Wednesday.
The results showed progress on several strategic fronts that Lefkofsky had outlined as priorities, such as reducing reliance on email blasts and building a repository of offers that consumers can browse on their mobile devices and desktops.
The long-term vision of becoming an e-commerce giant includes offering high-end restaurant meals and household products and vacations, not just discounted spa and house-cleaning services.
The plan, established during Mason's tenure, was further developed under Lefkofsky.
The board preferred continuity over the stress of a senior leadership transition during such a pivotal time, Lefkofsky told the Tribune in an interview.
"We realized the company was in a state where the very essence of the business model was still being built," Lefkofsky said. "We were in the midst of this huge migration from being an email-oriented company to a primarily mobile company. ... We were still at a very entrepreneurial state, building out the very foundation of the business model. And so instead of starting a search and looking for a CEO, the board decided I'd be the right guy."
Investors cheered the news and Groupon's better-than-expected quarterly results, which were released after the closing trading bell. Shares were up 21 percent in after-market trading.
Groupon's Wednesday closing stock price of $8.72, while still well below its $20 initial public offering price, represents a 70 percent increase since Lefkofsky and Leonsis took the reins.
Groupon said it lost $7.6 million from April to June, compared with a profit of $28.4 million in the same period last year. Revenue was $608.7 million, a 7 percent increase from a year earlier.
The company's revenue beat expectations of $606.1 million, according to Bloomberg.
As with previous quarters, the North American segment offset considerable weakness in international markets, where Groupon is overhauling operations. North American revenue jumped 45 percent, while revenue declined in other regions.
Lefkofsky's plans for Groupon are ambitious. He wants the company to dominate e-commerce, becoming the hub for every transaction between a consumer and merchant. The heart of this strategy is local commerce, but Groupon is also encroaching on Amazon's territory with its Goods business, which sells a wide variety of products online. Lefkofsky envisions a local angle to Goods as well, explaining during a Wednesday conference call that the company plans to offer in-store pickup for this segment.
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