Groupon Hires Ex-Amazon Exec Kal Raman for Adult Supervision

Groupon has hired Kal Raman to build out the company’s internal controls and processes, which have come under scrutiny after several recent gaffes.

Raman, who has held executive roles at Amazon, eBay and Drugstore.com, will be the SVP of Americas, overseeing the company’s operations in the region.

In a phone interview, Raman, 43, laughed when asked whether he was going to act as the company’s adult supervision. “It’s not about the age, it’s about the experience,” he said. “I have bought into the online revolution from day one.”

Raman most recently founded GlobalScholar, which was acquired early last year by Scantron. For the past few months, he has been acting as eBay’s general manager of Global Fulfillment. He has also held roles at Amazon and the title of CEO at Drugstore.com.

Raman is expecting to relocate from Seattle to Chicago for the job.

In the new position, he will be charged with putting into place the company’s processes and internal controls, which have come under criticism after Groupon was forced to revise its fourth-quarter earnings due to higher than expected returns.

Since then, the company has struggled to maintain investor confidence and has watched its stock fall more than 40 percent.

The company’s growth has been tremendous, leaping from 37 employees to 9,625 in just two years.

Since the restatement, this is the first big move that hints that the company has plans to right its course.

In response to a question about Groupon’s need for stricter controls, Raman was fairly blunt.

Yes, it’s a problem, he said, but “it’s a high-quality problem to have,” preferable to having a company that “is totally under control and no growth.”

In a statement, Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason, said: “Kal brings e-commerce and operational experience to Groupon which will benefit our customers and our merchants as we set out to become the operating system for local business.”


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