SBD/March 1, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Leonsis Stepping Into Co-CEO Role At Groupon Following Founder's Dismissal

Leonsis can draw on his experience helping AOL rebuild after dotcom crash
Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder, Chair & CEO TED LEONSIS on Thursday was named Groupon co-CEO after the "troubled daily-deals" website’s Founder ANDREW MASON was fired the same day, according to Thomas Heath of the WASHINGTON POST. Leonsis, a major investor in Groupon, joins Exec Chair ERIC LEFKOFSKY as co-CEO (WASHINGTON POST, 3/1). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tom Gara noted Leonsis, a "veteran of the first dotcom bubble, finds himself running a company suffering in the wake of the latest wave of inflated digital expectations." He joined AOL '93 and became a central figure during the company's "explosive growth phase." But the fallout from the dotcom bubble bursting "was not pretty." Leonsis "stayed with AOL after the bust," eventually leaving in '06 "after helping it recover from the depths of the crash." Some of Leonsis' institutional memory "comes from seeing a company rise, fall, and gradually rebuild itself could come in handy as he tries to steer Groupon out of its funk." Convincing investors he "can do that will be tricky but essential" (WSJ.com, 2/28). CNBC’s Joe Kernen said of Leonsis' move, “That’s weird, isn’t it?” CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin: “We should have Ted on the show to talk about what the heck he’s thinking” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 3/1).
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