Amidst a series of ongoing accounting-related controversies in the U.S., Groupon has appointed a new SVP to oversee international operations based out of Austria. Veit Dengler comes from Dell, where he had been since 2005, most recently as GM of its consumer and small/medium business units in Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe.
The announcement, TechCrunch understands, was made to employees earlier today in an email from Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason, who told staff that Dengler will be taking over the role in the coming months. His LinkedIn profile already indicates he is with the company.
He will be replacing the Samwer brothers, Oliver and Marc, who had been continuing to oversee operations ever since Groupon bought Samwer-backed CityDeal site as part of its move into Europe in 2010.
The Samwers had already been gradually stepping away from that role and passing duties to IVPs (international vice presidents). Now they will stand down formally — although they will remain advisors and also shareholders in Groupon. TechCrunch understands that both brothers had been involved at different degrees, at different stages. “Before, the showman was Oliver; in the last months, Marc was more in front of the international audience,” a source told us.
Why the changes now? It’s not entirely clear, but it could have to do with Groupon trying to get its house in order. The moves come as Groupon faces ongoing scrutiny in the U.S. over their accounting practices, which led the company to restate their fourth-quarter results, with net income some $22 million less than originally reported. In the UK, Groupon was targeted by the Office of Fair Trading over their marketing practices; Groupon has since changed those practices and the investigation was closed in March 2012.
Whatever controversy has surrounded the Samwers, they also attracted a strong degree of loyalty from at least some of the staff at Groupon, who now are facing a new chapter in their operations. “We, as Groupon employees, we can just wait and hope for the best, continuing to work as normal,” said our source.
Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 565 cities around the world. By promising businesses a minimum number of customers, Groupon can offer deals that aren’t available elsewhere. Groupon brings buyers and sellers together in a fun and collaborative way that offers the consumer an unbeatable deal, and businesses a large number of new customers. To date, it has saved consumers more than $300 million and claims it...