What CEOs Can Learn from Andrew Mason's Resignation Letter

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There’s been a lot of talk and press about Andrew Mason leaving (OK, getting fired from) Groupon. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I came across this post over the weekend about The 13 Best Resignation Letters of All Time. His really stood out to me for a variety of reasons.

If you haven’t seen the letter, here it is in its entirety, as published with the above story.


I love how he owned up to some things, but what I really love is that last paragraph (bolding is mine), which reads:

If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity!

Wow! He sums up in so many words what we, as customer experience professionals, try to convey every day: It is important to the success of the business to focus on the customer and on the customer experience.

I don’t know much about the inner workings and culture of Groupon, but I do know that the business has been in trouble for a while. And just last week, Groupon lost a quarter of its market value after releasing their Q4 earnings. Making the customer (and employee) experience a priority leads to better numbers than that. I don’t think I need to give you any examples; you should know them by now.

I suppose someone learned a huge lesson here. And I’m glad he decided to impart it on his employees as he was leaving. I hope the new CEO, when selected, carries that torch. This is a lesson to be learned by a lot of CEOs.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else. – Sam Walton

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