Groupon boots CEO and COO amid global pandemic

Editor’s take: Daily deals provider Groupon recently announced that Rich Williams is no longer serving as chief executive officer. Furthermore, Steve Krenzer has also stepped down as chief operating officer effective immediately. It may not seem like the best idea to change leadership in the middle of a global pandemic but with virtually everyone hurting, perhaps it is better to rip the band-aid off and absorb the sting now?

Details of the respective decisions weren’t provided although Groupon said that both will continue to be employed by the company.

Williams has been replaced on an interim basis by Aaron Cooper who most recently served as the president of the company’s North American division. Before becoming the company’s first chief marketing officer, he held marketing jobs and consulting roles with firms like Obitz, AOL and AEG Partners.

Chairman Eric Lefkofsky said Cooper is well-positioned to lead Groupon as they conduct a search for a permanent successor. “We have a deep bench of senior talent and the team is intensely focused on executing against our strategy during this unprecedented moment in time,” Lefkofsky added.

Cooper said that in his 10 years with the company, he has seen it grow from a small email-based platform into what they believe will be the leading online destination for experiences. That said, the executive isn’t turning a blind eye to the ongoing pandemic that is ripping the economy to shreds.

“The disruption created by the global pandemic, however, is significant, and our immediate goal is to help millions of Groupon merchants, customers and employees navigate the massive challenges they face,” Cooper said.

Groupon is no stranger to hard times. In 2015, the company axed some 1,000 employees and exited seven markets as part of a $35 million restructuring effort. Earlier this year, it got out of the consumer goods marketplace, vowing to move forward as a pure local experiences facilitator.

Image credit: Nicole Lienemann

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