Groupon hires Google exec to replace Solomon

Faith Merino · April 21, 2011 · Short URL:

Margo Georgiadis steps in as COO; will her experience leading Discover Card to an IPO help Groupon?

Groupon has evidently found its replacement for the soon departing COO and President Rob Solomon. The company announced late Thursday that it has officially hired Margo Georgiadis, who will step in as COO and oversee the company’s global sales, marketing, and operations.

Georgiadis’ hiring comes on the heels of Solomon’s recent announcement that he would be stepping down  due to the company’s rapid growth and his personal feelings that it needs oversight from someone who is more attuned to running a large company and can take it to the next level (hint: IPO). Groupon did say, however, that Solomon would be staying on board for several months to help transition his replacement, so he will presumably be working with Georgiadis to help her get settled in the company before he says his goodbyes.

Georgiadis comes to Groupon from Google (arguably the ideal place to get a new COO to oversee an enormous company’s global operations), where she served as VP of Global Sales Operations. Georgiadis was responsible for driving Google’s sales operations and strategies across regions, channels, and products. Additionally, she led the sales technology teams, which handle the commercialization of AdWords, AdSense, and display and mobile ads with advertisers and publishers.

In another life, Georgiadis was a Principal with Syntero Capital, EVP of Card Products and Chief Marketing Officer for Discover Financial Services, as well as a Business Analyst and Partner at McKinsey and Company. Not all at once.

Given her experience with overseeing large companies, Georgiadis is the ideal woman for the job of Groupon COO. While she was with Discover Card, Georgiadis was a leader on the executive and management committees and was part of the core team that took the company public in 2007, so it sounds like Georgiadis is exactly what Groupon needs as it gears up for its rumored $15-$20 billion IPO later this year. She’s also credited with turning around Discover’s 3-year-spell of declines in receivables and growing sales over 25% to $93 billion.

“Margo is a strong leader with a passion for helping small business owners and consumers,” said Groupon CEO Andrew Mason in a statement. “We’re thrilled to have her on our team.”

Georgiadis’ experience with running large companies will come in handy when it comes time for her to take the reins on her own, without Rob Solomon’s guidance. With over 7000 employees (more than double what it had in December) and operations in 46 countries, she’ll have quite a few people answering to her. And the company is still hiring.

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