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Groupon's Andrew Mason Isn't Firing Himself

Groupon CEO, Andrew Mason
Stephen Yang | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Groupon CEO, Andrew Mason

With Groupon stock rallying on reports that the board is talking about replacing Andrew Mason, the embattled CEO took the stage at Business Insider's Ignition conference.

He fielded a slew of questions from Henry Blodget, and defended his leadership of the company, ahead of a Groupon board meeting on Thursday.

Mason says acknowledged that with Groupon's stock down about 80 percent, "it would be weird if the board weren't discussing whether he was the right guy for the job."

But Mason said if he didn't believe he was the right guy, he would "fire himself."

Does he have the right skill set? Mason says what Groupon needs is "consistent execution." What about the criticism that he's not doing a good enough job explaining the business model to the press? Mason says "you can't talk the stock up to $20." (Track Groupon Stock Here)

Mason says he's building a business over the long haul, and wants to do what Amazon did for the web, for local goods and services. Does that mean competition for Amazon ? No, Mason says: whereas Amazon is about comprehensiveness, Groupon is about curation.

What has surprised Mason since the IPO? 1) The international business has been decline, it peaked in the first quarter. 2) Goods has been surprisingly successful. 3) Mobile is hugely important, with a third of U.S. transactions mobile, and the past holiday weekend half were mobile. (Read More: Match.com for Startups, Investors)

Groupon captures the attention of shoppers with deals that are "never boring," but Mason nodded to Groupon's high profile issues, like accounting issues and executives leaving.

A classic line: sometimes he wishes Groupon had been more boring when it came to its life as a public company.

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Mason sounded chastened, but entirely fed up with the media attack, saying he doesn't read the articles, "it's distracting." The media prefers to write about plane crashes than safe landings. He compared Groupon's marketing prowess to newspaper ads, saying it fails less often in delivering ROI than newspaper ads do.

(Read More:Survey Says...Merry Shoppers, Shallow Pockets)

Will he suggest that the board hire a new CEO? "As the founder and creator of groupon, a large shareholder, a customer that loves the product, I care more about the success of the business than my role." But he still believes he's the guy to helm the ship.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said the Groupon board meeting would occur on Wednesday. In fact, the board will meet on Thursday.

-By CNBC's Julia Boorstin
@JBoorstin

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.