Starbucks’ Schultz: Don’t Read Anything Into Exit From Groupon Board

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said today in an interview on CNBC that he has confidence in both Groupon’s board and CEO Andrew Mason, even after stepping down from the board after 19 months.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News

Last month, Kara Swisher reported that Schultz and Accel Partners’ Kevin Efrusy were suddenly stepping down from the Groupon board.

Schultz’s departure was effective immediately, while Efrusy will not be standing for reelection at the company’s annual meeting in June.

In the interview on CNBC, Schultz said, “I only committed to one year. It just so happens that my exit was timed with the problem they had last quarter, and no one should read anything into that.”

When asked whether the company has enough adult supervision, he added: “I have confidence in the board and Andrew, and that’s all I have to say at this time.”

Groupon’s stock has continued a downward spiral after it revised its fourth-quarter results to account for higher than expected returns during the holiday period. Today, the stock is down 1.3 percent, or 13 cents, to trade at $9.94 a share.

At that price, it is worth half as much as at the time of its initial public offering.

On the same day that Schultz and Efrusy announced their departures, Groupon said it planned to appoint both Daniel Henry, CFO of American Express, and Deloitte Vice Chairman Robert Bass. Henry joins immediately, in Schultz’s place.

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