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LivingSocial names eBay's Gautam Thakar as new CEO

Former CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy announced his departure in January

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
July 15, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3825

Like most daily deals sites, LivingSocial has struggled a fair share as the fad of buying discounted goods online quickly wore off. The company has lost numerous executives over the last couple of year, including three out of four of is co-founders, and this past November it was forced to layoff 10% of its global workforce.

The most recent blow occurred in January when the company’s co-founder, and long-time CEO, Tim O’Shaughnessy, announced that, he too, would be stepping down. What he said at the time was, essentially, that the company needed a new direction, and a new vision.

Now we know where that vision will be coming from: eBay's Gautam Thakar, who has been appointed as LivingSocial's new Chief Executive Officer, it was announced on Tuesday. 

Thakar had been with eBay, where he was most recently the general manager of eBay advertising. Prior to that, he was CEO of Shopping.com, as well as the head of International Marketing for eBay and as country manager of eBay India. Gautam first joined eBay when it acquired, baazee.com, India’s leading where he had been CMO. 

LivingSocial is well-positioned to play a growing role in demand generation for both local and national merchants,” Thakar said in a statement. “I am excited to join LivingSocial at this important chapter in its journey and help build on all the accomplishments that Tim and the team have achieved so far.”

Thakar will officially become CEO by mid-August, and O’Shaughnessy will remain with the company as an advisor to assist with the transition.

LivingSocial was founded in 2007, by O’Shaughnessy, Aaron Batalion, Eddie Frederick and Val Aleksenko, all former employees of  Revolution Health Group. Now, only Aleksenko remains. Frederick, who had been President of the company, stepped down in March of 2012, while Batalion left in March of 2013

When O’Shaughnessy revealed his departure in January, he wrote a letter to the staff, in which he said that he felt comfortable leaving, given that the company was "stable and healthy," but he also recognized that he was not the person to lead the ship going forward.

"I’ve given much thought to the many opportunities that stand in front of us and the benefits that could come from a new perspective and a new voice and approach at the top to lead us there," he wrote. "My responsibility is to recognize that now is the best time to transition leadership – when that full set of ingredients is available to be used most effectively to shape the company’s future."

The Washington D.C.-base LivingSocial already has more than 70 million subscribers in 613 markets around the world, and has raised close to a billion dollars in funding, most recently raising  a $110 million Series G round of financing in from existing investors in February of last year, bringing its total funding to $918 million.

A regulatory filing from January showed that, while LivingSocial's revenue more than doubled in 2012, to $536 million from $250 million in 2011, its net loss also went up to $650 million from $499 million the year before.

Gautam is entering into a declining and shrinking market space, and a company who loses are increasing. To say he has his work cut out for him is an understatement.

(Image source: de.shopping.com)


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