Tim O’Shaughnessy, a co-founder and the CEO of LivingSocial, on Friday told the staff of his daily deals company he planned to step down.
The news was first reported by the Washington Business Journal and confirmed by Re/code.
O’Shaughnessy plans to relinquish his position once the company has found a replacement.
“Like you, I have given my all to the mission of this company,” O’Shaughnessy said in an email to his staff this morning that the company published on its blog. “And I remain 100% convinced the ingredients for success are here. Additionally, 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. 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 news is not all that shocking considering the tough year the Washington, D.C.-based startup had in 2013. It suffered a hack of customer information in the spring and then was hit with a 40-hour Web outage in the fall. LivingSocial registered a net loss of $107 million on $384 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2013, according to a regulatory filing from Amazon, which owns 31 percent of the deals company.
Last week, LivingSocial completed a deal to sell its Korean business, Ticket Monster, to its biggest competitor Groupon, for $260 million in cash and stock. The company has already sold the approximately $160 million in Groupon stock.
O’Shaughnessy told Re/code in an interview this afternoon that LivingSocial will use a chunk of the proceeds to substantially increase marketing in 2014.
“We have been revamping the product and the breadth of content we have on the site, and we want to start talking to people about that more,” he said.
At a meeting at LivingSocial headquarters over the summer, I asked the CEO whether he ever thinks about whether he’s still the right person to lead the company. “Every day,” he said at the time.
“If I thought someone would do a fundamentally better job and I knew who that was,” he added, “they would have the job that I have.”
He said in today’s interview that the board did not ask him to step down, and that today’s decision was his alone. O’Shaughnessy also told Re/code that he will be “significantly involved” in the CEO selection process, with the search being led by the firm Russell Reynolds, and that he has no plans to give up his seat on the company’s board.