Groupon founder Andrew Mason said he still wants to be CEO a day before a potentially pivotal board meeting tomorrow where his fate will reportedly be considered.
At Business Insider's Ignition Conference Wednesday, editor-in-chief Henry Blodget seemed intent on Tuesday upon getting Mr. Mason to acknowledge that negative press surrounding the company has taken a personal toll on him.
"Does it suck?" Mr. Blodget asked.
"No, it's great," Mr. Mason answered sarcastically. Mr. Mason went on to say that he ignores most press, telling Mr. Blodget, "I don't read what you guys write."
Mr. Mason did acknowledge, however, several recent stories about Groupon's board considering removing him as CEO during a meeting tomorrow. And while he acknowledges that his board -- of which he is a member -- is justified in questioning whether he's fit for the position, Mr. Mason was adamant that he still wants the job.
"It would be weird if our board wasn't discussing if I was the right guy for the job," Mr. Mason said in the interview. "I would fire myself if I thought I wasn't the right person for the job."
Perhaps he is . Despite a deluge of negative press since the company went public just more than a year ago, Groupon remains profitable, its North American business is undergoing 38% year-to-year growth, its become a leader in mobile commerce with a third of its transactions coming from mobile devices and its goods sales continue to climb, Mr. Mason said.
But as Mr. Blodget pointed out, the perception of Mr. Mason has gone from business "god" to "clown" as the company has plummeted to $4 from its $20 IPO.
Still, Mr. Mason maintains that he's capable of leading the company back to its former stardom. And to do so, he said Groupon will be focusing more on goods, mobile and a searchable-deals database aimed at driving website traffic and lessening the company's reliance on deals sent via email.
Although the company will be emphasizing goods deals -- physical products offered at steep discounts -- Mr. Mason said the company is not trying to compete with Amazon.
"We're about curation," Mr. Mason said. "Rather than show you thousands of TVs, we want to show you one TV that 's well-priced."
Selling discounted goods is a low-margin business, though, so questions remain as to whether Mr. Mason's strategy can help Groupon someday live up to its pre-IPO valuation.
Does it suck to be Mr. Mason? It might if he gets fired from the company he founded tomorrow.