Founder and CEO of Plum District, Megan Gardner, has left her position at the company, according to the Plum District website and LinkedIn. Susan Kim, formerly at Google, eBay and Minted, will be taking over the role.
Kim was originally brought on as an interim CEO to run the company in Gardner’s absence during her maternity leave, which began in November. However, a couple of weeks ago Gardner shared the news with Kim that she wouldn’t be returning, and with Gardner out, Kim decided she wanted the permanent CEO position.
Plum District, the once-darling of mom-focused local daily deals sites, has been incredibly quiet of late. Last we heard, a few rounds of layoffs had brought into question the sustainability of daily deals as a market, as well as leadership strategies within the company.
As we’ve seen from Groupon in the past year or so, the answer can be both. Groupon strapped into the daily deals roller coaster in 2008, which saw a huge climax a couple of years ago when Groupon IPOed with a $13 billion valuation. At the time, it was the second largest tech IPO after Google.
However, the market carved out by former Groupon CEO and founder Andrew Mason has fallen on hard times. SMBs are realizing that deals often result in low revenue, high traffic, poor service, and no real customer acquisition at the end of the day. Groupon’s market value is now just below $3 billion, and after the most recent (and disappointing) earnings call the CEO was ousted from the company he founded, replaced by Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonisis.
While Plum District is in a different developmental stage than Groupon, financially, the company seems to be suffering through similar tribulations. The one glaring difference is that Groupon seemingly let Mason go because of pressure from stock-holders, whereas Megan Gardner is said to have left on her own accord after having a baby in December.
On Glassdoor, Mason had a 54 percent approval rating from employees, whereas Gardner only has a 4 percent approval rating.
Based on conversations I had with both current and ex-employees at Plum District during the last round of layoffs (along with Glassdoor), Gardner wasn’t all that well-liked among lower-ranking team members, especially regional managers (local moms who sourced deals for the site that is “by moms, for moms.”)
However, new CEO Susan Kim is excited to get Plum District back on track in what she admits “is a very difficult time for daily deals services, especially in the last year and a half.”
But she believes in the market, and she particularly believes in Plum District’s focus on a single customer: the mom.