Can a New CEO Save Groupon?
Andrew Mason has been fired as CEO from Groupon, but the business hasn't changed in the past 24 hours. The stock is flying higher—investors seem relieved that the struggling company is making big changes to turn things around.
There also seems to be an element of relief that the company is saying goodbye to Mason's quirky, wild-card management style. But with the stock down some 75 percent since its November 2011 IPO, as profit margins are squeezed, the big question now: Can a new CEO save Groupon?
It's a "step in the right direction," said Stiefel's Jordan Rohan. He called Groupon's current strategy "incomplete," warning investors that "the business may take a long time to recover."
(Read More: NBC News: Groupon Fires Founder, CEO Andrew Mason)
One analyst, Edward Woo at Ascendiant Capital Markets noted the outlook for the company is now even hazier, writing "we believe that a new CEO increases near term uncertainties for the company as recent results have been weak and it is undergoing a major business transformation."
And at the end of the day, it will all come down to whether Groupon's challenges—slowing daily deals business and growing competition—can be tackled. Justin Post, Bank of America's Groupon analyst, wrote that it does not change his "cautious view on Groupon's business model shift to Groupon Goods." He warned, "We think it will be very difficult for Groupon to deliver year-over-year growth given the sales mix shift to the lower margin goods business."
But Groupon's most bullish analyst, Stern Agee's Arvind Bhatia, who had a 'Buy' on the stock before Mason was fired, said this is a huge opportunity. "They're building a team that's going to be more focused not just on the topline growth but also how to grow the bottom line." Of course that all depends on who's selected to lead Groupon's team.
Interim Co-CEO Ted Leonsis was at AOL through its boom and bust cycle, so he has plenty of experience with a corporate fall from grace. We'll see how he applies what he learned from AOL to Groupon's next phase.
(Read More: 10 Ways to Turn Around Groupon)
And we'll see who is willing to take on the tough job of turning Groupon around, and who is prepared to handle the harsh media spotlight. Leonsis and co-interim ceo Eric Lefkofsky may be holding that top spot for a while, it won't be easy to find someone eager to take on this perhaps Herculean challenge.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin; Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin