Groupon Loses Top Sales Exec Lee Brown

Groupon has confirmed that its head of national sales Lee Brown is leaving the company, closely following other recent sales departures.

The announcement was made internally today in a memo distributed to staff, which was obtained by Reuters.

Separately, a Groupon spokesperson confirmed his departure, adding that Raj Ruparell, who has been in the sales organization for the past four months, will replace Brown.

When Brown joined Groupon in December 2010, Kara Swisher reported that he was considered a top-notch recruit from Yahoo.

But even before Brown joined the team, Groupon had some success in selling deals to both Nordstrom Rack and the Gap, which helped to raise awareness of the company and enlist new customers. But the number of high-profile promotions had started to dry up recently, with fewer and fewer offers gaining that kind of traction.

One source suggested that Brown’s departure was the result of Kal Raman, the newly appointed SVP, going through every department with a “fine-tooth comb” and cleaning house.

Still, the departure doesn’t look good for the struggling company, which has been losing key personnel. Two days ago, it leaked out that Jayna Cooke, another top saleswoman, who helped land the deals with Nordstrom and Gap, had also left the company. Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason downplayed the departures in an exclusive video interview with AllThingsD.

In the internal memo, Reuters reported that Brown was credited with building Groupon’s National Sales team, which focused on nationwide deals, rather than local offers. Raman wrote: “Under Lee’s management, the team has secured a number of key customers, and I’d like to personally thank Lee for his contributions and wish him the best in his next opportunity.”

Without a doubt, management is hoping the departures don’t hurt the company’s progress, but rather provide an opportunity to invigorate its sales force with new faces.

Ruparell, who has been charged with taking over the reins, was previously the company’s VP of Groupon Goods, and had joined Groupon originally through its U.K. division.


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