Groupon Tries Out Having a COO Again, Promotes Kal Raman

After burning through two chief operating officers in the run-up to its IPO, Groupon has promoted Kal Raman to the twice-cursed position.

This represents the second promotion for the executive since joining in April, so clearly, after what was essentially a very long job interview, Groupon is confident that the third time will be the charm.

Prior to his C-level appointment, Raman was the SVP of Global Sales and Operations. In his new role, he’ll continue reporting to CEO Andrew Mason and oversee, well, the company’s global sales and operations. (Basically, it’s just a title change, since that’s what what he was doing anyway.)

“In a very short time, Kal has had a significant impact on increasing the number and quality of local businesses using the Groupon platform to the benefit of Groupon customers around the world,” Mason said. “We are already seeing progress in Europe and Kal will be instrumental in leading our company as we deploy tools and technologies that will help us continue to grow both Groupon and the categories in which we operate.”

In an interview about his initial appointment, Raman was direct about what Groupon needed: Experience. He laughed off the characterization that he was adult supervision for the Chicago company, which is what many critics believed it needed at the time. Over his lengthy career, the 43-year-old has held roles at Amazon and was the CEO at Drugstore.com. But since he joined Groupon, things have gotten dicier for the daily deals company, which is seeing its core business erode in favor of a lower-margin e-commerce business. Groupon stock today closed at $2.73 a share, just off its all-time low of $2.60 a share.

Raman won’t be looking to duplicate the performance of Groupon’s past COOs. In April 2011, Groupon hired Google’s VP of Global Sales Margo Georgiadis to be COO, but she decided to return to Google after just a few months on the job. A pattern that was repeated after Georgiadis replaced Rob Solomon, who was only in his job for one year.


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