Groupon CEO Departs, Honestly

CEOs of publicly-held companies leave with some regularity. It’s typically “retirement,” “other interests,” or “new strategic direction.”

We often know what really happened, but accept the duty to read between the lines like rookie CIA analysts deciphering Pravda editorials during the Cold War.

So when Groupon CEO Andrew Mason departed today, he did so with an amazing memo to staff. Here is the opening paragraph to the “People of Groupon,” via press reports:

After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.

I don’t expect to ever see a memo like this again. And that’s too bad.

CNN is reporting a severance package valued at $378.36 (this is corrected thanks to reader Jonathan’s comment, below). Looks like honesty in severance as well.