Groupon COO jumps ship after 5 months 24 Sep 11

An online coupon sent via email from Groupon is pictured on a laptop screen November 29, 2010 in Los Angeles.

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO | Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:29pm EDT

(Reuters) – Groupon’s chief operating officer is leaving to join Google Inc five months after joining the company, and ahead of a highly-anticipated initial public offering.

The daily deals company also filed an amended registration statement on Friday that excludes from its revenue figures the money that Groupon pays its business partners.

Groupon said on its official blog on Friday that Margo Georgiadis was leaving the company to take a job as president of Google’s Americas business.

“This change won’t have an impact on operations,” Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason wrote in the blog posting.

He said that Groupon would reorganize its management structure in a way that reflects the company’s evolving strategic priorities, with the Sales, Marketing, Channels and International divisions now reporting directly to Mason.

Georgiadis will take the job currently held by Dennis Woodside at Google. Google said that Woodside will now oversee the integration of Motorola Mobility Holdings, which Google announced plans to acquire for $12.5 billion in August and which is currently awaiting regulatory approval.

The news comes as Groupon is preparing to float shares to the public in a $750 million IPO.

Earlier this month, sources told Reuters that Groupon had put the IPO on hold for at least a few weeks, hoping to ride out global market turmoil while dealing with some regulatory scrutiny.

Mason drew fire after an August memo to employees lashing out at the daily deal site’s critics was leaked widely to media. In the internal memo, Mason also talked about August revenue growth and reaffirmed his confidence in the business.

The company has received questions from the SEC about the memo, the Wall Street Journal cited unidentified sources as saying. Regulations limit what companies can say ahead of a planned IPO.

Groupon included the internal memo in its amended registration filing on Friday and said the memo was leaked to the media without the company’s knowledge.

The company also distinguished between its “gross billings” which include the money it collects from customers for its coupons, and “revenue” which excludes the portion that Groupon shares with the restaurants and retailers which offer coupons through Groupon.

In the first six months of 2011, Groupon had gross billings of $1.6 billion and revenue of $688 million, according to the amended filing.

Georgiadis’ departure marks the second time in less than a year that Groupon’s COO slot has been vacated. In March, then COO Rob Solomon announced that he was leaving the company.

Georgiadis said in the Groupon blog post on Friday that she believed Groupon was on a “terrific path” and that she had confidence in the team’s ability to realize its mission.