As the last of the dust settles on the departure of Groupon’s founder/CEO Andrew Mason, the daily deals and local commerce service today filed an 8-K form with the SEC to detail how it would be compensating his interim co-CEO replacements Eric Lefkofsky and Ted Leonsis; and also giving a sweetener bonus to one of its key staff, Jeffrey Holden, in 2014 and 2015.
Leonsis will be on $210,000, and Lefkofsky $200,000 — both on an annual basis, meaning that only a portion of that will be paid, should a permanent CEO be found sooner. Groupon notes in the 8-K that these salaries match the amount that each would have been paid had they remained directors of Groupon, as they had been before the co-CEO appointment. (That appointment invalidates them from receiving the Director Compensation Plan.)
Holden’s salary, meanwhile, is not noted in the 8-K, but the form does specify that he will be paid a guaranteed bonus in 2014 and 2015, $500,000 for each year.
There are a couple of interesting things to read into these figures:
The compensation for Holden, SVP of product management, is presumably being made to make sure that he stays on board to see the company through its continued transformation — Groupon had been trying to diversify under Mason to do more in local commerce services, specifically using mobile technologies; to complement the business it has already built up in daily deals — which has come under some pressure in recent times.
Holden, one could argue, holds the key to a lot of where Groupon would like to go as a company. He had once been an Amazon executive overseeing consumer websites, and had joined Groupon in 2011, along with the April 2011 acquisition of his company Pelago, makers of a Foursquare-like app called Whrrl. That deal will be coming up to its two-year anniversary next month. Holden will not get either year’s bonus if he leaves the company before December 31, 2015.
Meanwhile, the compensation for the two co-CEOs is at the same moment very generous and relatively tiny. On the one hand, if you compare it to what Mason had been making, it’s big money: Mason’s last annual salary was the princely sum of $756.72, giving him a severance of $378.36. Compared to that $410,000 is out of the ballpark.
Then again, if you recall that Lefkofsky reportedly made some $382 million cashing out on Groupon shares pre-IPO, suddenly those hundreds of thousands seem as ephemeral as a daily deal.
Groupon last month posted quarterly revenue of $638.8 million, slightly beating analysts’ expectations, but an operating loss of $12.9 million and a loss per per share of 12 cents, both failing to meet estimates — precipitating Mason’s departure after several past quarters of poor performance.