Exit stage left, with grace

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If you’ve just been fired, you might want to take a leaf out of former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s book (or keep this in mind for any later, unfortunate possibility).

Mason’s ‘thanks for the memories’ note has been held up as a model for all such future notes because of the sense of accountability it communicates, the fact that he refuses to apportion blame to others, and for its humour.

The company that Mason founded, Groupon, has been in trouble for some time now. Its value has fallen dramatically from more than $13 billion to less than $3 billion; its share price has been stalling at around one quarter of its listing price; and the demand for the daily deals that Groupon’s business model relies upon also seem to have frozen.

One of the highlights of the notes is its surprising frankness, and the way in which Mason spoofs all those politicians and high profile CEOs who have spun the tired line of wanting to spend more time with their families. “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,” he quipped in the note.

Other highlights include:
 

  • “…the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.”
     
  • “You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I'm getting in the way of that.”
     
  • “For those who are concerned about me, please don't be - I love Groupon, and I'm terribly proud of what we've created. I'm OK with having failed at this part of the journey.”
     
  • “My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what's best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness - don't waste the opportunity!”

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