With Groupon's stock in the tank, the shrinking coupon giant's CEO and founder Andrew Mason said Wednesday that he would be surprised if the board was not thinking about firing him.
"It would be weird if the board wasn’t discussing whether I was the right guy to do the job," Mason said at Business Insider's Ignition conference in New York City on Wednesday — but he added that he personally wasn't ready to leave.
"If I ever thought I wasn't the right guy for the job, I'd be the first person to fire myself," he said.
Mason's admission that his position at the troubled tech company was in peril came after AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reported Tuesday that the Groupon board has been discussing “major leadership changes” at the company, including the prospect of replacing Mason.
Though the move would not be imminent, the daily deals company does have a board meeting Thursday where management issues will be discussed — something Mason acknowledged would likely be on the agenda.
The company, once valued at billions of dollars, has seen its stock price plummet more than 80 percent after it hit the market last November. Its share price currently hovers around $4, beaten down by poor earnings reports since its initial public offering.
Mason said he has embraced a stay-the-course strategy even when faced with Wall Street antipathy and relentless media coverage. He said the company needed what he offered — a cocktail of "consistent leadership," a "winning strategy" and the "ability to attract a strong team." Mason argued that despite the detractors, the coupon business that Groupon has helped revolutionize remains a $3 trillion industry.
"As a customer that loves the product," he said, "I care far more about the success of the business than I do about my role as CEO."
Pressed by moderator and Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget if he still wanted to remain in control of the company, Mason initially said, "I want to do what’s best for Groupon."
After Blodget remarked that his tepid answer did not inspire confidence and asked again if he wanted to stay on, Mason said simply, "yes."